Elias Rothfeld


He sits down, coffee in hand, pencil resting on his ear.  “This is my masterpiece,” he thinks to himself.  “This is going to be my "Mona Lisa," my 'Stairway to Heaven,' my 'Mockingbird.'”  With the coffee firmly rested on his coaster, he flips open the typewriter top, and begins to write.  His name. The date. Now comes the hard part.  He’s been here before, in a deadlocked battle with imagination.  There have been different forms of it, each taking a different shape each time.  In a dream he had, he was running through a field, when he couldn’t go any further.  He was immediately impeded in his tracks by some sort of blockade.  Now, he knows that he has to find a way through the blockade.  No more running away, no more taking detours around it.  “More coffee first,” he says, as he refills his mug with more of the sacred Colombian drug.  He feels that coffee is more of a distraction than means by which to help him focus.  This feeling therefore brings along a feeling of guilt whenever a new mug is poured.

“Of course, who cares?” He thinks. “I’m alone at my own house, why not indulge?”  The indulgence only keeps him from his ultimate goal.  The pot pours its dark mysterious contents into the mug. Drip. Drip. Drip.  He thinks of all the things he could write about. Love stories seem to be cliché and overused.  War novels seem just like an excuse to get money.  “I want this to be epic.”  He says aloud. Epic. That’s it!  Following the footsteps of Homer before him, he will write an epic poem!  It’ll be about kings and dragons and good against evil, about human nature and how it affects our surroundings, and it will teach mankind a valuable lesson.  He could imagine it now, all of the praise and glory that would follow the book’s publication.  How glorious it would be to bring back that feeling of pride one got when they read about a hero winning a battle, a princess being saved, or an evil scheme being foiled.  He longs for this adventure and excitement to resurface. Alas, he fears he has no plot to base a story upon.  Reluctantly, he abandons this idea, and moves on. The war is still a stalemate, no blood shed yet. 

Straying away from the idea of an epic poem, he wonders about a great novel along the lines of A Tale of Two Cities and To Kill a Mockingbird.  Maybe a great story on race or class, controversial, yet undoubtedly genius.  It will tug at the heart strings of many, and possibly some will be moved to tears.  There will be flowers at his feet, a medal around his neck, flowers in his hand, all for the staggering work he has created.  He ponders this, but again, no plot surfaces, and he is forced to abandon this idea as well.

After a while of thinking, and a few more cups of coffee, he thinks about a great futuristic thriller.  He thinks about the great popularity of 1984, and desires to gain that popularity.  Robots. Aliens. Technology. The world of sci-fi is vast and abound.  He thinks about movie rights, maybe a TV spinoff.  The world is doomed to a certain fate, and one man must stop it himself.  It’s foolproof.  In no time, the money will just be pouring in, and he’ll just be kicking back and relaxing, he thinks.  As he toys with this thought, it hits him.  He still needs to write the story.  Conceive a plot, develop characters, introduce a conflict.  “Too time-consuming,” he thinks.  Once again, this thought becomes an orphan without a parent.

An hour later, he’s still stuck.  Wired from the coffee, he has just about nibbled his pencil down to nothing.  He can’t think of a single thing to write.  He thinks about what he knows.  He knows good food, good wine, good art, and of course, good coffee.  Suddenly he gets and idea.  He’ll write an autobiography! An epic tale of a young man’s struggle as a writer, and the hurdles he has to overcome.  He can’t wait because an autobiography requires no character development, no certain conflict, just real-life experiences.  He can write about whatever he wants.  Now, the typewriter paper appears as a fresh sheet of snow, just waiting for the first footprints to be cast on it.  He settles himself in, sits straight, and begins to write about his own personal epic poem, his own personal controversial novel, his own personal science fiction thriller.  He has all the materials he needs for his masterpiece! But first, more coffee..... 




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