Writer’s Block

Prompts (junk, captivity, edible, sombre, full moon) courtesy of Cake.shortandsweet‘s Wednesday Write-in.

The full moon swayed,  half hidden behind streams of ropy grey clouds, like a fat, spoiled tiger in captivity. The power went out and the room was sombre.

“Awful,” Coyote said, finger furiously tapping the backspace key.

He slept in the far corner of the pizzeria while a few tables away, a group of teenagers with faces pocked and cratered that when they looked up and the buzzing fluorescent light overhead reflect down as they snapped their heads back braying laughter, you’d think it was a trio of Strawberry Moons.

Coyote drummed his fingers against the desk and tried to write something that wasn’t junk.

Cynthia slid the box of edible panties laced with laxatives into her purse and smiled. Dan would be in for a surprise tonight. It would serve him right for sleeping with her cousin.

He minimized the window and checked his email. No new messages. He checked the local news site, barely glancing at the headlines. He stood up from the computer and paced around the room. His office job was sucking all the life from him. He finally had a quiet moment at home and couldn’t write anything.

Coyote thought about quitting. About selling most of his things and subletting his apartment and running out to a cabin in the woods. He imagined sitting at a typewriter, the clacking of the keys melding with the songs of the birds and buzz of mosquitoes. He sat back down.

The man in the black suit sat straight up in the chair. His sombre expression made it seem like he just tossed the first shovelful of dirt on his son’s casket. The plump woman across from him busied herself with serving tea.

“Fuck it,” he said.

Coyote shut the program down. He set the kettle on the stove and went out to smoke on the balcony while he waited for the water to boil. He’d take a break. Have a coffee. Watch TV. Maybe go for a walk. Clear his head.

And then he’d come back and wouldn’t move until he’d somehow beaten out a story.


7 thoughts on “Writer’s Block

  1. I like the narrative here and the theme it explores. As a fellow scribe, I empathize with scenes like this, though mine usually end up in the bottom of a beer.

    The second full paragraph is rough and, as you mentioned in your post over at CAKE, the parts where we are in Coyote’s writing could use italics for clarity.

    The second to last paragraph, though, really captures the mood of writer’s block well.

    1. I hadn’t added the italics at first – I thought maybe I could make it seem like the stories are “real” at the moment they are writing – but the wife also said it was confusing so I went back and changed it. Thanks a bunch for the feedback.

  2. I’m reading this after you have italicised the writing parts and it made sense straight away. I definitely felt like you captured the frustration of writers block!

  3. The italics make it very clear what’s happening. I like the ‘real’ story and Coyote’s desperate false starts are very amusing.

  4. I like how you have managed to get so many diverse scenes into one little piece of flash fiction and make it work as a coherent whole (great way of getting the prompts in too!). The false starts add a certain texture to the piece. The fact that all of his false starts are so different reflects well how unfocused/unsettled the writer is. Very clever idea and well executed too!

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