Precious Pilgrim,

I see it now. The stage is dark. Dissonant music is playing menacing low. There is a little howling, moaning sound created by a wind machine. A fog maker is pouring out its obnoxiously oppressive white stuff – so that the first two or three rows of the audience are experiencing a slight chill and tickles in their throats. Soon the coughing begins – just enough so that everyone starts reaching into his or her pocket looking for a Kleenex.

The mood is set. The apprehension is felt. All wonder, “When will they turn off that blasted machine and is this crumbled-up Kleenex I found, clean?” (Lucy, hush!)

One lone actress dressed in black enters from stage left. Her head is downcast, but her posture is upright. As if a regal, but deposed queen, she walks slowly towards center stage. She’s mature in shape and mind. (In other words, she’s middle aged.) She arrives – pauses – waits – hesitates– until she instinctively knows that by her sheer commanding presence she has already completely captivated her audience. She knows they are putty in her hands.

The night is hers. They are mesmerized. She can feel it. Why, even the coughing has stopped. The one spotlight which has been following her every move – brightens and widens slightly, for at her age, we don’t want the light to be too harsh or unflattering.

She is ready for her line – the beginning to begin. (She thinks to herself.) “On your mark, get set, go.” “Come on, old girl, you can do it – you can do it -- you can do it – you can!”

Another scene (I think to myself). Do you know, Pilgrim, how very hard it is to start? -- To pick up this pen and write? To think, maybe I’l l just write for the sheer fun of it – every day or at least try?
-- Like a real writer does? (Now Lucy, don’t take yourself too seriously!) Don’t worry. I won’t. I mean, I know I’m not really a writer. Not really. Even though there have been books and there are a few unpublished manuscripts. I know I’m not really a writer. I mean, like it’s a profession or an avocation. Previously, I’ve just written in between ‘grocerying’ or ‘grannying’ or cleaning or cooking.

Well – not too much of the latter!

But how can I find time to write daily – for the sheer fun and discipline of it? The possibility is exciting, but scary. What will I write about? To whom? Why? Let’s get back to our actress and see if she can help get this thing jump-started. She opens her luxurious lips and liltingly lets fall these words – in a dark monotone – shaded with caramelized vowels – “Lucy, be quiet and write – what did she say?”

“Fallen trees lie all around like wounded soldiers on the ground.”

“What? Gross! Pitiful! Put that pen down! I want my money back! Turn that fog machine back on!”

The End
©2004