an experiment in writing

Walking past the book detectors at the library’s entrance always has me double-check my innocence. I have no books in my bag, nothing that would make the alarms go off– but still I have to remind myself to act natural; there’s no reason the sirens would blare. I have only set off the library sensors twice: once when I forgot to check out my books, and again when I walked out reading the book in my hand without realizing it. I had come here to write, and to write for a long time– I felt behind on the schedule I had set for myself. 10 minutes a day of straight typing. Now that I had put it off for 9 days, I only had to do an hour and a half of frantic typing to make up for the slack.


In my little corner of the library, there are only two other people. A woman in a winter coat, mouthing the words she types on her Mac book; and a balding man with his back to me. He has stubbly black hair that he rubs with his knuckles as he slumps over his book. I sit here, in this little corner of the library, writing what I see because I can’t think of anything else to write.

At least that’s something.

Nervously, I gnaw on my fingers. My mom warned me before I left that setting writing up as a chore was a sure way to take the fun out of writing. I know that, but how else will I ever–

There is a peculiar noise flesh makes when it tears. I look down in surprise, withdrawing my pointer finger from my mouth as the nail bed pools with blood. I have bitten it down the the quick again, and I quickly put it on my tongue to stop the blood. I re-read what I have written. It came out of the same hands, typed by the same finger that is filling my mouth with salty blood. Why does it seem so foreign? How is it that something that used to come as naturally as breathing now comes to me in stertorous gasps and shriveled coughs?


I poise my fingers over the keyboard again. A drop of blood falls on the ‘n’ key. I wiggle my fingers in dismay, and another drop falls on the ‘u’ key. UN, it spells. UN. Un-what? Unmade? Undone? Unhappy? Yes, yes, and yes. It seems a good reflection of my mood. I take out my phone to snap a picture. I will use it as the header to the post I am writing.

The first photo comes out smeared and blurry. I scrub my index finger on the lens, hoping that my grubby fingerprint can clean the camera. I refocus on the bloodied keyboard; it seems to have worked, the picture is more clear. I snap three photos, then one more for luck. Then I fish a bandaid out of my purse and apply it to the wound

I sigh, and look back at my laptop. It’s been two hours, and I have only typed 614 words. I feel like a failure.

I find it interesting that people say they have little voices inside their head. I’ve never felt that way; to me it’s always been my own brain simply ‘realizing’ a sudden truth– and then repeating it forever. For example, just now, my brain suddenly thought that I couldn’t write. That I am useless and will never be a writer. For one moment, I believed it; but then I pushed the gray matter aside and started typing. To my dear little brain that worries so much and thinks so hard, incessantly chattering; telling me I can’t write —


Seems I just did.


One thought on “an experiment in writing

  1. I know that it can be hard to write sometimes. You’re busy, writers block, too tired. . . I need to work on it too! Thank you for sharing something that I’m sure all of us writers have felt at least once! 🙂 I love reading your writing! I’ve always loved your narrative!

    Liked by 1 person

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