Reso Ex Nihilo

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I guess they call this burnout.  Three beers, a conversation with a friend, and an hour later, I found myself in that rather interesting position of having no story to write.  Nothing, zero, nada, zilch.

Another beer.  Another cigarette lit on the way home.  I feel the need to just break down, to let it all go.  I want every frustration I have against myself and what I do to just evaporate, sublimate, annihilate itself.  For the first time in my life, just because of some noble end I know I cannot live up to, I just wanted to just let it all end.  It’s not like my whole life will revolve around one workshop or one chance or one opportunity… but it felt that way.  It meant – and it means – so much to me to make it to that workshop.

I guess I’m desperate, looking for answers and stories from the bottom of a brown bottle, and the burnt end of a cigarette filter.  Somewhere in here, somewhere in this decrepit mess of things, there must be a story.  There must be something to be told.  There must be words to put together.  There must be something – anything, everything – to the chaos, to the randomness, that can be committed into words.

I’m free for the night.  Everything has been postponed.  I have all the freedom to write what I want, to do what I want.  Somehow, I just can’t.  The goal is to create something out of nothing, like every form of writing there is.  Then again, when you put nothing and nothing together, there’s really much nothing you can do.  No words, no sentences, no paragraph, no essays.  Rather than face myself with an embarrassing and blank Microsoft Word document, I’m facing my blog to – once again – scream into my empty paper cup.

So the drama, I guess… it’s not like my whole future depends on one event, and it’s not like I’m only left with one career choice.  There’s so much I can do.  With four days left on my calendar, I feel like the only thing I can do now is to do what I have to do, or to die doing it.  Yet somehow, I’m exhausted.  I’m tired roaming the streets of the Metropolis looking for stories.  I’m tired committing these figments of the imagination to words.  I’m tired of being a sentence aggregator, and somehow passing that off as me being a writer.


I’m tired of getting ill.  I’m tired of the pain in my arms and my hands, and that migraine I have to shake off every day because I need to get to the office.  I’m tired of it all, but somehow I never really left myself with enough choices to do something?  Some call it dedication, some people call it self-mutilation.  Some people call it spirit, some people call it the withering away of the soul.  Some people call it an obsession, a false pride.  I call it like I see it: creating something out of nothing.

Roland Barthes calls it the “Author-God.”  Small wonder; the author must die.  Eventually.  In time, the writer will only live because of what he or she has created.  More days of drunkenness, more days of frustration, and in the next few days, more blank document screens that somehow have to be blackened and colored with words.  I wonder if people who once wrote with quills have had the urge to drink the ink from the inkwell just to get away from it all.

Four days left.  I don’t know what I’m going to do.  There’s work, there are things to do at home, there’s the mundane and everyday requirements of living, of being human, of knowing that in a writer’s world, there are only two things: deadlines, and a vast expanse of nothing.  The discouragement of every single person out there who’ll say you can’t write to save your life.

Nothing.  Freaking, fucking, goddamned nothing.  Just like the Word document I have to attend to.

Maybe it’s too much hand-wringing for a pipe dream, but heck with it.  By hook or by crook – like I always do – I’m gonna try.  Words will come out of this thing, and a story will come out of those words.

Something out of nothing.  Impossible is nothing.  Ain’t nobody will stop me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to that story without words.

1 comments on “Reso Ex Nihilo”

    • tina
    • March 30, 2009

    oh boy, i can relate to this. ^^ it’s frustrating how easy it is to get ideas casually, during a bus ride or while trudging on a busy sidewalk, but the ideas just evaporate when you’re already in front of a blankness waiting to be filled. i’m still not sure how i managed to write the stories i submitted to my classes and workshops… the sheer pressure of the deadline just squeezed the words out of me, i guess. haphazardly, but slowly, painfully. a thousand after a thousand after another thousand. i was never so conscious of word counts. XP

    maybe you could try listing down ideas as they come, then go back to those when you need a story. it might help. a little. ^^; you seem to have a pretty solid worldview already… maybe you just need to come up with characters to people the world as you see it? you know… when your characters are alive, what they do becomes the story, that kind of thing 🙂

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