Rock Bottom

A bad night redeemed

He awoke with his cheek stuck to the pages. The bottle lay on its side, nearly empty. The words had all spilled out. A lonely “L” was left dangling at the rim. The desk was layered in incomprehensible phrases. They had flowed around his glass and dropped over the edge to the floor making a mess at his feet. He grabbed a stack of blank pages and threw them down in disgust. He rose and headed for the kitchen. Maybe some coffee could help clean up this mess.

As he set the coffee down on the desk he reached for a clean sheet of paper. Start over? That seemed like the wisest course of action. Although maybe, just cleaning up the mess would be a better use of his time. Instead, he took a long contemplative sip from the coffee cup and leaned back in his chair. There was the beginning of something there. It had been clamoring to get out all the previous day.

He wondered if maybe he should just call his sponsor. After all, these things do happen. We think we can just drop a little story here or craft a sweet little poem and walk away. Next thing we know we wake up in a pool of our own paragraphs and we’re headed down that long lonely road again. His father had told him not to pick up the pen. Too many in his family had suffered that particular torment. “’Tis an ignoble end,” he said. “Best to stick with numbers. Become an accountant or write software if you must play with words. Just keep away from the thesaurus. Nothing good will come of that.”

He sighed deeply and set the cup back on the desk. Looking down at the pile of papers on the floor he saw a little phrase had slipped out from beneath. It triggered something in his memory. Was that a little bit of the missing plotline? As he flipped over the pages the characters started introducing themselves. Frantically, he bent over and pulled at the pages, arranging them all over the floor. Yes, this is what had been hammering at his consciousness all day yesterday! He wondered if he had the words he needed, the bottle was nearly empty. Still, at that very moment, all he really needed was that “L”. The rest would come, eventually, as they always did.

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