I know why you are here. You’ve hit a wall, you’re stuck in a rut or you just can’t find the right words to say. Whatever the reason, you have come here for a place to stay during your sabbatical, however long or short it may be. Don’t look at me like that; I am cloaked in this drab dirty robe for a reason you know. I am the Gatekeeper; I will be your guide for this journey that we are embarking upon. I will show you a place that is wonderfully horrible, a world that is atrociously beautiful; a place like nowhere else. Give yourself a moment to prepare for things that you have only imagined, but never allowed yourself to fully realize. When you are ready, we shall go.
There is an unassuming quaint hamlet in the epicenter of the heart of the world. This obscure village is the home of life and death, alpha and omega, and purplish-bluish pixie dust that has the ability to turn you into a flying ocelot when snorted in the proper quantity. Horse-drawn chariots pull kings and queens along on cobblestone streets, maniacal captains of industry concoct schemes of corporate rape and pillage and techno-organic spaceships that are barely fathomable to the human mind glide silently through the skies. It’s a neighborhood of worlds, galaxies and universes. It is vast and limitless, with endless resources of the natural and mental variety. It is Imagination itself.
Follow me off of the clichéd beaten path and you will find that it leads to another familiar cliché: Writer’s Block, our destination. Writer’s Block is a rather strange and frightening corner of the fabulous suburb of Imagination. It is located where Frustration ends and Suicide begins, but at the same time where the two never intersect. Many a passerby round this cul-de-sac of anguish again and again; like a merry-go-round of sweet, sad psychopathy. Regard the lawns on the block: wild and unkempt, made up of hairs of desperation plucked from the skulls of the ever-vexed. This is a place of lost purpose and direction. It’s almost like it’s a living organism; one that thrives on the angst and torment of dreamers across existence; I can see that you have an abundance of angst to offer, yourself. The air is never still, never calm, never clear. Powerful winds anticipate a heavy storm that never comes, while carrying unmanned strollers of aborted ideas of yesterday off to uncertain fates. To call this place Hell would be an exaggeration; it is actually closer to 2 parts Hell and 5 parts Limbo.
As you see, currently on this confounded block there is a daintily-thin woman in a lavender dress stumbling over a curb. Watch as she plummets to the ground in the blink of an eye. Her face scrapes against the hard pavement, leaving its own signature on her cheek. It’s merely one more tally on a slab of wrecked flesh that has been marked up over and over again. This visage once had the ability to provoke such uncannily beautiful creations. Orchestral symphonies battling the bravado and lung capacity of a powerhouse soprano in a war of audible magnificence; Canvass paintings that recreated impossibilities of biblical proportions in one brush stroke; Limericks of love that could only convey their true meaning when read in the original dead language that they were written for. She did all those things and more, but now simply wanders the streets like a prostitute past her prime, slipping into dementia. She’s just another muse who has lost her ability to spark inspiration. I would take a moment to pity her, but there is more to see and do.
I can see you look a little distressed. You’re probably asking yourself “What kind of God exists in a place like this?” Well, all kinds of gods exist in a place like this actually. There, to your right sits Pontificus the God-King, who hails from the Yonder Realm. He is once more babbling on to whoever will waste a moment of their endless moments to listen to him. He often speaks of his time as Lord of the Yonder realm, and the great power he wielded. He tells of how his influence stretched across time and space and everything in between. He tells of how he used to have great strength, great looks and the great ability to do…something…he can’t quite remember what, he insists it’s extraordinary though. Gods and men alike are humbled in this warped reality; what was once irrefutably set in stone has become constantly questioned and judged. What was once all powerful has been rendered helplessly flaccid in a matter of moments.
Eons ago the universe was born in a flash. Out of nothingness came a certain somethingness. On Writer’s Block street-level big bangs explode into being every day. Have you ever witnessed something on that scale before? It is truly fascinating; but on Writer’s Block, there is no birth without an almost immediate consequence of death. On the corner of Writer’s Block resides The Tower. The Tower is stories upon stories of apartments where dreamers such as you stay here on Writer’s Block. The Tower gives birth to new ideas that thrive and flourish for a fleeting moment but don’t ever fully come to term. Residents of The Tower put a piece of themselves in their work and watch it struggle to survive, until it just hits a wall and dies. This brilliant thing that you made, that you love so dearly, just can’t seem to make it. Maybe it wasn’t strong enough. Maybe you didn’t love it enough. It doesn’t matter really though. I suppose one has to be utilitarian about this kind of thing. You take the strong parts of what you made and leave the weak parts behind.
I have been doing this job for years, it feels like. I have traversed up and down this wretched block scores of times; but until this moment, I haven’t seen the beauty in it. Looking at you, I can tell you don’t yet see what I see; give it time. One shouldn’t be sad for these tales, one should rejoice! Rejoice that they have tried; that they have lived, if only for a mere second. In that second they glow with brilliance; they see what they were meant to have seen, and then perish or they leave. Where do they go? What lies beyond Writer’s Block? I used to wonder that myself. Creation is what lies beyond Writer’s Block. Striving, sweating and pushing for your idea to breach into the world of ideas; to make it more than just another attempt to produce something, but to actually MAKE it, and to make it stick. Writer’s Block is a test. It’s the BAR, the MCAT and the Polygraph. You pass it or you fail it. Whatever happens out on the other side is insignificant; the true success is for an idea to live, to exist. So really when it comes to Writer’s Block you have two options: You can rent a room in The Tower and wallow in self-indulgent madness, or you can fight through it and CREATE. After a very long time, I choose the latter. So I apologize to end so abruptly, but I am going to conclude our journey here. I give you my robe; you can be The Gatekeeper now if you wish. Choose to do with the role what you will, I wish you nothing but the best. In the meantime, I am going to cross the street and help up our disoriented, beautiful muse and together, we shall look for an inspiration.