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Chipping Away at the Old Block (Part II)

Continued post from yesterday.

The image of her working behind the counter of a public library or being the owner of a used bookstore wasn’t difficult for her to imagine. She’d always found comfort in being surrounded by the written word—ever since the days back in grade school when her parents tried to make her to go to bed even though she’d insisted she would after finishing just one more chapter, only to bring the book with her to the breakfast table the next morning. Her parents had managed to stop her from bringing her reading material to the table and she finally started going to bed at age-reasonable times, but eventually her old habits kicked in. Now here she was, twenty-two years old, staying up till two or three in the morning absorbed in her books and bringing them to the breakfast table the next morning. She still lived with her parents, but they gave up trying to stop her from reading when she wanted to.

The bookworm inside her lived on.

This was proven case in point in the fact that after she left Wynn’s apartment, she found herself in Barnes and Noble. While she was there, another friend called. When she told Jessica that she was at B&N—as they liked to refer to it as—her friend wasn’t surprised. Just like with Wynn, she and Jessica caught up and she told her about her early morning activity. Jessica’s response was similar to Wynn’s. The conversation progressed in the same direction as the one she’d shared with Wynn and when she got off the phone with Jessica, she had this somewhat unsettling feeling in her stomach. At what point had her life been reduced to early morning writing sessions and trips to the bookstore? The thought made her feel a bit pathetic, even though she knew there was absolutely nothing pathetic with that kind of life; it just wasn’t the kind of life she wanted for herself.

She sat in the café area of the bookstore and thought back to three summers ago—as she often did whenever she thought about her current issues with writing. It was the summer after her freshman year in college and she’d just moved back home after a year of living in the dorms at school. As she munched on her cinnamon scone, she also remembered the drama that resulted from her homecoming due to the differences in opinion she and her parents had about how she should live her life. She’d dealt with all of it by writing. Whether it was fiction or poetry, whenever life became too frustrating to handle, she’d turn to a notebook and pencil or her computer and just let her frustrations melt away and take form on the page. She was an emotional writer because that was her motivation. Nowadays however, her life had calmed down drastically and apparently, so had her writing. She frowned at the thought of her emotions being the driving force of her work. She very well couldn’t rely on them when it came to getting work done—this having been proven multiple times when she’d found herself squinting from the glare of her computer screen either at or even before the crack of dawn.

After perusing the many shelves that made up the Alderwood Barnes and Noble store, she picked up a book that showed some promise and headed back to the café to read. She stayed there until closing. The man over the intercom was announcing the store hours and she couldn’t help chuckling to herself as she thought about the situation: while her peers were busy closing down bars and clubs, she was busy closing down bookstores. Ironically, as “un-cool” as that may have sounded, she wouldn’t have had it any other way. She didn’t mind going out every now and then, but she could only handle so much loud music and inebriated groping from strangers.

As she finally made her way home from the bookstore, some of the unsettling feeling she’d felt since she ended her conversation with Jessica melted away. This was how her life was and she wasn’t ashamed to admit it. Just as she shouldn’t have been. She was content. Her relationship with her parents had improved greatly. And while the calm affected her writing, she couldn’t really complain. She rather enjoyed not having her emotions tied up in knots all the time—it was much less exhausting.

Finally, her thoughts jerked back to the present and once again, she glanced at the clock. It now read 7:53 a.m. but she no longer felt that panic and desperation she’d felt earlier. She still hadn’t figured out the reasons behind her constant procrastination, but she knew that was going to take some time to figure out. She was also coming to terms with the fact that although she was an emotional writer, she couldn’t rely on them to be her only motivation. She knew she was going to have to do some deep introspection to figure out how to deal with her recurring writer’s block. As fun and exciting as that sounded, she knew that if she wanted to pursue a career in journalism (she did), she was going to have to deal with it because inevitably, there was going to be at least some writing involved.

Unfortunately, she was going to have to save the deep introspection to another day because she was working on a deadline and she was cutting it close. At least, she thought to herself, her more immediate issues were being dealt with as she stared at the computer screen. The light tap, tap, tap of the keyboard filled the room and the cursor flew across the opened Microsoft Word document. This time however, Beyoncé wasn’t there to provide musical accompaniment.


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