By v_voltaire

:v_voltaire takes the stage: This is another project I felt was good enough to be published on the net. It's a train-of-thought piece, and believe it or not, this is sometimes the process I go through. It has been unofficially published in a 'zine, The Portico, but since it was not-for-profit, free, and currently out-of-print and unavailable to anyone who would like to get it, I don't feel anyone will mind if I publish it here as well. The only thing changed between that version and this one is my name: I don't feel comfortable giving out my full, real name, but my real first name is Valerie, and that's about the extent of what's real. This is dedicated to my "singing master" who probably would rather be anonymous on the net. She helped edit this silly little piece, and she's the one responsible for italicizing a great number of the words. :v_voltaire leaves the stage:

The poets are wrong. Black is not the most evil color. Blue is not the color of depression. Like the song, I'd rather be blue, thinking of you, I'd rather be blue over you. Heck, I'd rather be black and blue, or at least have black and blue spread around the page. Anything but the all-encompassing blankness.

No, neither black nor blue is the worst color. It's not red either, the color of blood and fire and over-thick tomato soup. It's not the pale, wishy-washy, cloying color of green our senior school shirts blandly portray every day, proclaiming itself "celery" while it wilts. It's not the vaguely distracting shade of coral lipstick some senior citizen women have the strange notion is attractive. The worst color of all is much, much more sinister.

The worst color is white: pure, unadulterated white. It is the color of my blank computer document—formless, featureless, shapeless. This white symbolizes evil for me. The great God of Writer's Block has caught me in his cruel white trap.

It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Well, then, I shall wield my mighty weapon and fell this dastardly demon. I shall spring off my swiveling padded throne and jump around my room in a fashion befitting a make-believe knight of my stature, waving my pen-sword in the most menacing manner. Ho, Writer's Block! Have at thee! Heeyah! Gah! Whapow! Kerplang! Parry, parry, thrust, thrust, block, attack, retreat, attack, retreat, retreat. Retreat!

Oh, retreat. This jumping around, though invigorating, does nothing to help a writer's block of this proportion. The next step to curing writer's block is quite simple: write something, anything, down, then work with that. Time to tap a tattoo on my keyboard drum set: a tap a tap a tap a, a tap a tap a tap a, a tappity tap, a tappity tap, a tappity tappity tappity tap tap. A tap a tap a tap, Hey! A tap a tap a tap, Ho! A tap a Hey! A tap a Ho! A tap a tap a Hey! Ho! This keyboard pattern creates brilliant music, but the written result is not exactly on par with Lord Tennyson: "fdsfds jkljkl fdsjk lfdsjk fjdksl jfksjd jfkdjs fj sj fjdks"

Way to go, Shakespeare. This gibberish can't be transformed into a brilliant masterpiece. Hold down the delete key like a good girl, Val. Now, amend that step of the cure for writer's block: write something, anything that includes real words, then work with that. Write a title. Think, think, think, think. Nothing. I'll write the title last. Next step: the by-line. That's easy. "Valerie Duff." That's not quite right. Click the mouse to the left side of the screen. "By Valerie Duff." Hmm, it's still missing something. Tap tap tap. "By Valerie F. Duff." It's not quite right yet. Tappity tappity tap tap times twelve. "This masterpiece is written by the talented, brilliant, (and strangely attractive) Valerie Fay Horatio-Duff III, Esq." Hold down that delete key again.

This is a layer of Dante's Inferno he neglected to write about. Most people's idea of hell consists of sulfur; mine is made of bleach. Actually, mine would either be made of bleach or "Facts of Life" reruns. It would depend on how vindictive the devil was feeling that day. My head hurts.

The cursor mocks me. It's winking at me, saying, "This is just our little secret, isn't it? Only you and I know about your failure at writing anything down on the page. And don't worry; I'll keep your secret. This is just our little secret. Your little failure. Our little secret." It keeps winking at me: on, off, on, off, on, off. Its pattern is almost hypnotic. Have my eyes started to glaze over, or has the cursor's pattern of blinking changed speed? It seemed like three winks were fast, then three were slow, then three were fast again… Hey! I know Morris Code, you common computer command, and I do not need an "SOS"!

That is it. I can tolerate the blinding whiteness of the naked screen. I can tolerate the mental agony of dialing my personal muse and receiving a busy signal. However, I will not tolerate the mocking by some self-important cursor. I do not need to take this. In one triumphant movement I reach over and turn the screen off. There will be no creative outpourings today. I wonder what's on TV?