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A Pocket Archive (17)

I stare at the legal pad in front of me, chewing on my bottom lip and tapping my pen against the table. The paper is a soft pink, with celestial graphics in the margins and the perfectly spaced gold lines that beg for a story to be scribed onto them. And yet, as I start to press my nib down, my hand starts to shake again- I just can't do it. A line of deep, black splotches covers the top of the page and I sigh. I've wanted to tell this story so many times, but now, I don't know what to say. How can a pad of paper be so intimidating?

I stand up, pushing the pad away, then start pacing the length of my apartment, grabbing a fistful of my hair, then- remembering, quickly let go again. My fingers start tingling and I have pins and needles in my arms forearms again. I shake my hands to get the blood flow back and try to steady my breath as I attempt to think of something sensory and grounding.

I stop pacing and listen, counting my breaths, then the ticks of the clock in the kitchen. A dog barks overhead, and somewhere, someone must be smoking, because there's a faint whiff of "the devil's lettuce" coming in through the vents. I will have to light another candle. The linoleum is cold and grainy, and I am suddenly aware that I can feel stray bits of cat hair clinging to the bottom of my bare feet. I frown and look down, then survey my living room, taking note of the laundry still draped around the living room and the thin layer of dust frosting the books scattered across the coffee table. When was the last time I'd cleaned in here? It had to be at least a week.

Suddenly my anxiety is replaced by annoyance; the only truly clean things I can think of are the litterbox and the newest frame sitting on the end table. It needs a deep clean, but I'm just never home long enough. I glance at the impish face grinning out from the glass and feel a sharp pang in my chest. Maybe I should call my mom. I pick up my phone, start to scroll through my call log, then sigh and switch it off.

No. Just get it out. Get it all out.

I have to stop procrastinating. I walk into the kitchen and splash some water in my face, then dry my hands on a dish towel and start a pot of coffee. As the coffee pot gurgles, I sit back down and glare at the paper again. This used to be so easy. It's just writer's block, and it won't go away unless I make it. Bad writing is still better than no writing at all.

I pick up the fountain pen again.

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." -Ernest Hemmingway


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