May 10, 2010
A woman sits in the small cell she has prettied up to be her writing room. No windows to tempt her with distraction. Not enough space to pace in time to her thoughts. Directly in front of her on the desk are a keyboard and a monitor, but right now the woman is absorbed in the book opened across her lap. She has read this same passage over and over, uses it, sometimes, to jump-start her own writing.
The clutter of papers has been pushed away so the middle of the desk appears clean, a reasonable work place. At the sides of the desk, the mess amasses--papers with notes, pages from stories, drafts of chapters, ideas ignited, the burn of wishes, the purity of imagination unbound by the austere outlines of agents and publishers, yeses and nos.
She closes the book, and as she sets it on her desk, a plastic tube attached to her shifts, riffling the edges of papers. The tube, arcing down towards her arm from a metal pole on wheels, feeds a steady drip into her vein. A plastic sack suspended from the pole contains a liquid that has become as vital as blood, as water. The drip-drip corresponds to the countdown of silent seconds measured by the computer’s clock.
In this small cell, small cells within her body bully and grow.