Writer's Block of the Stars


I had a sudden insight, but since there was no one around to tell it to, it stayed inside my system, roiling and chewing on itself like an empty stomach.

I was trying to write, having recently moved into a spare duplex stripped of telecommunication products.  The tranquility I had expected in this new solitude grew instead into a type of nervous boredom.  I fueled up with coffee and alcohol and had far too little to eat.  I was spinning in a repetitive cycle.  I picked through a frozen dinner then moved on to potato chips, which provided me crunchy head noise and therefore a type of company.

Something in the six pages I had written at the kitchen table would hopefully make a formation, take a shape, and the process would magically become more math than instinct.  I couldn't find the key, though, and ended up counting the tiles on the kitchen floor.

I tore the pages from the notebook and carried them outside.  In my god-forsaken days in corporate offices, we were often bored senseless, prone to walk around, and it was common practice to carry papers to look busy.

Without a heavy coat, yet fired with a whisky or two, I looked at the thick sunset, the end of another cold February day.  The darkening west featured sad clouds like wool scrub pads.  A distant small plane was droning its way home.

Soon the stars came out.  Maybe I would catch a beam, an inspiration from skies that don't write but are eternally written about.  I try to spot a few I know.  To me, Castor and Pollux, with their dual fidgeting brightness, are not navigational heroes but the sky's greatest worriers.  But nothing is constant with Gemini.  Orion's belt is straight and uniform, a real consistent square, and the three stars in his precisely aligned midsection represent a documentation omission, an ellipsis...  That constellation over there, I don't know its name, looks a bit pale, a row of fading fluorescent cylinders above silent scribes.  The dippers, fast-food bloggers, are over my shoulders, and craning to find them I stumble.

From my knees I see the dim ceiling light through my kitchen window and the dirty bar towels hanging on hooks by the sink.  There are no dishes to clean in outer space, no gravity for falling.

I got up, sore and confused.  I have a foot there and a foot here.  Up in the wider orbit, events seem the same cold drag as mine down here.  Long, uneventful rotations, sometimes a flash of an incident.  At times a star shoots past, excitement and reaction for all, then sometimes planets journey and meet face to face, gathering from each other a warmth and exchange of elements, revolving, always revolving.  But in this sequestered universe I chose, they never shoot past or meet to dine and tell stories, much less opt for dessert.

It's not acknowledged up there, but it's lonely.  It's not a basic need up there, but there's hunger.  Without time, there is no frustration.  Expectations are measured in light years.  Should I be pressed?

I threw my pages in the air, offerings to the stars, like useless napkins for their appetites.

The next day I cancelled the lease, then spent a week in a noisy hotel, writing like a madman.  
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