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» Thought Wrangling by Robert Bradeen Short stories, flash fiction and creative writing online.

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Bob lit up a smoke, and wondered what was next. He had been sitting there all day in front of the computer, pretending to do other things, putting off actually having to be creative. Which was strange considering, the thing he desired most was to be truly creative.

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The problem wasn’t so much a lack of decent ideas and experience to draw from, but more the ability to cleanly extract just one of those ideas at a time. Perish the notion of actually organizing the cacophony of thoughts and images in his head into some sort of coherent story.

His thoughts were a very close-knit and protective herd. If he managed to pluck one, it wasn’t long before the pack came to its rescue. Once in a blue moon he was able to escape to the damp dark confines of his cave with one or two of the herds weaker thoughts firmly in his grasp.

Then came the problem of how best to prepare these freshly bagged ideas. Maybe it’s best to sink his teeth in to the raw fresh flesh, and quickly enjoy the guttural pleasures of the fresh kill. He could slowly roast them over an open fire, so he could enjoy the warmth and taste nuances, which that method would provide. Or, even better yet, he could preserve them; store the precious ideas for another day. Unfortunately, his struggle with the process – deciding what he will do with his newly acquired thoughts – often lasts well after the ideas have rotted away to nothing.

Over-analysis was his stumbling block – well actually more of an Everest like mountain. Of course plenty of people had scaled the sides of that mighty mountain, but he was quite certain that none of them were wearing sandals, cargo shorts, and a T-shirt at the time. Every sentence, even every word for that matter, was scrutinized as though the fate of the world depended on its meaning. If only he could equip himself to climb this gargantuan peak.

The correct tools seemed to be what he was lacking. Or maybe he had all the tools right there at his disposal but the prospect of figuring out how to correctly use them was proving to be too daunting of a task. Either way, procrastination, and slacking seemed to be so much more pleasurable, at least until the bills starting rolling in, and reality was beating him about the face.

But, what is reality? Aren’t writers in the business of helping people step out of reality, even if just for a moment? A hiatus from reality isn’t found only in the fictitious world of a novel, it can be found in almost every bit of writing. After all when you read the news of some far away place about something that is happening to people you don’t know, is that truly real? Are you not, in a way taken, by your mind, to that place? If you can’t see it, feel it, smell it, then how can it be real? Hell, even things you can wrap your senses around don’t always feel real. Does the nature – or rather the perception – of reality make the writer’s job easier or harder? How can these questions even be asked in a world of uncertain realities?

These were all things that raced through his mind, as he enjoyed the sensory pleasure of picking at a scab on his arm.

Oh, what the hell! He had just spent 5 minutes picking at a scab, that his fiance had been telling him to leave alone for weeks. He always told her that he was certain, if he picked the scab, it would heal better. He knew that was not true, at least not now that he was getting older. But, it did give him a reason to not have to strain his brain trying to get those rambunctious thoughts all in a nice neat line.

He wondered if the problem wasn’t so much getting the thoughts out and on paper, but figuring out how to tie them all up with a pretty bow.

He thought it particularly fitting and even amusing that he couldn’t even get through a story about not being able to get through a story.

Who ordered the irony?

I need a smoke, Bob said to himself.

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About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.

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