I used to think that to be a writer I needed to have an office space–a small, cramped space in the corner of a house with large enough windows for morning sunlight to bring life to my writing supplies; that I had to be at-one with nature; drink a few cups of black coffee with two tablespoons of sugar in the morning; always disgruntled; speak in metaphors with 4-syllabic words; read Writer’s Digest or NY Times; and never share my heart with anyone. After all, can a writer truly love anyone more than he loves himself or his writing? Shakespeare would even question that notion!
I assumed I would have a Rolltop desk (made in China, but purchased in a San Fran antique store) with a few typewriters set aside; and, if need be, know now to fix them since due to technologic advancements, no one else would know how. My favorite among my collection would be my Royal Quiet de Luxe, and I’d scoff at the kids who never knew how to change a ribbon or the purpose of White-Out.
In a pair of loafers with undone leather strings, I’d take long walks in the morning and wave at nameless souls in automobiles. I’d memorize license plate numbers and recite them silently to myself as cars passed–and pray that memory would never leave like everything else; or, simply nod at fellow passerby wearing L.L. Bean quilted vests when Autumn approaches. And, by the time I return home, a tad winded from the brisk walk and a soft sweat around my neck, a few of the cardinal hatchlings will have peaked their heads from one of the several handmade birdhouses I’ve strategically placed by every window. Everyone knows that life inspires.
I would have a small garden in the backyard with vegetables (many of which would be eaten by deer) and I would learn proper canning methods from researching at the local bookstore on weekends. And, as I would take a break from my gardening, because my back would slightly ache from being crouched over for so long, I’d sit on the old stool inherited from my great-grandmother that I sanded and repainted a number of times and watch the roses climb the brick on the side of my home.
By mid-day, I’d return to the front of the house, just in time for the postman to hand me the mail himself, instead of placing it in the mailbox. He would inquire of my recent writings and how much he enjoyed the previous ones, while insisting I write a sequel (or at least a screenplay) to the first novel I’d written 40-some-odd years ago. I’d blush in embarrassment, not because of the praise but because I had always thought that was my worst written work ever.
By evening, I’d watch Jeopardy and talk to the television, calling each contestant an idiot as I kept track of my own imaginary winnings on a napkin and ballpoint pen while a dinner for one was cooking.
I would go to sleep one night with a bedroom stacked with unopened letters, some yellowed from the years of neglect from readers around the world, and uncashed honorarium checks from prior public speaking engagements. And one night, beside all these letters, and the mustiness within the room where dust collected, I would lay on a sheet so filthy that holes would form and I would cry so hard that I’d drown in my tears and simply die.
And everyone would say, “He was a lonely man.”