21 Jan Writer’s Blank
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"Writer's Blank"Written by
Estimated reading time — 8 minutes
[Autosaved 16/3/10 10:45 PM]
I’m now speaking…I’m now seeing words appear on the screen…There are still words on the screen, which bodes well for me. Okay it’s been a full two minutes and the words are still there. I think this is working. I am going to leave the room now and return in five minutes and hopefully the words are still there.
[Autosaved 16/3/10 10:50 PM]
Sweet Jesus, it works! It works! Oh thank God!
Right, so I’m going to just explain everything. There is something really weird and frustrating going on right now, at this very instant that I’m speaking. I mean, writing. No, actually I do mean speaking. You see in reality I’m speaking aloud what you are reading; a computer program is dictating all this. My hand has not grasped a pen or pencil and put it to paper for you to be able to read this. And that relates to the very desperate quandary at hand.
Here’s the weird thing – I can’t write. I literally cannot write a single word and I am absolutely serious. Every time I write something on a blank surface with the aid of a writing tool, it disappears. My mind is overburdened with all these desperate, harried thoughts and yet I can’t express them. This is like the opposite of writer’s block – I’m not troubled that writing won’t appear on my blank pages, I’m troubled that my writing disappears from my filled pages.
I first noticed this two days ago. It was in the afternoon. I seem to remember writing a shopping list, and so I go to the supermarket – I had to pick up some, um, milk and a newspaper – and when I get there I pull the list out and it’s blank. I mean, logically I guess you could suppose I thought I’d written the list and just hastily left without checking twice. But that is so unlike me, that seems so odd to take a blank piece of paper with me. Utterly blank.
I’m beginning to see it’s serious. Just earlier I had this amazing idea for a short story, but when I started to write it disappeared, as soon as I finished a sentence it just disappeared. Now my sheet of paper is blank, like I never touched it. But I specifically remember writing on it, I swear to God…
Am I losing my mind?
[Autosaved 17/3/10 2:50 PM]
Things are a little more desperate now than simply being unable to think up a good story! It wasn’t a dream. I’m not crazy. This thing is still happening. I still can’t write. But today it’s worse, I can’t type now either. Just earlier I was going to look this issue up on the net, and I was thinking ‘do I search for a forum on writing problems or medical problems?’ I went with writing problems – probably less vague than medical. I’d only just typed my query in the search bar when the text disappeared again. Then I found I couldn’t type anything, like my keyboard had locked up or something. So my computer’s now officially useless. That was…around eleven o’ clock. The time’s really flown. I should probably just see a doctor about this. I’m going to just go and make an appointment.
[Autosaved 17/3/10 4:33 PM]
Um…I don’t really know what just happened. I mean I don’t know whether that was my doing or his doing. The…a post man just stopped by, immediately after I made a doctor’s appointment. It seems he had a package for me, but he needed for me to sign something so I could receive it. Without even thinking I tried to sign my name, but my writing, of course, disappeared as soon as the ink hit the paper. He asked me what was taking so long. I said the ink’s run out of the pen, so he took another pen out. That one wouldn’t let me sign either. He started to get impatient. Then I was stammering and my hand was shaking, and I told him I would, I would sign it. He was starting to give me a weird look and he asked for some I.D. I took out my driver’s license and it was just blank. All the information’s gone, the photo’s gone. It’s just a blank, useless square of plastic. The post man just told me off, he must have thought I was playing a prank or something, but then he saw how my hands were shaking and I couldn’t get any words out, and he looked confused and then just left me. He probably thought I was brain damaged. I would feel so humiliated but I have bigger things to worry about.
I was pacing around the house just now and I thought something was really off. And I realised that I’m missing from all my photographs. I don’t have many photos of anything, but of the ones I do have, I’m in a lot of them. It’s actually quite amazing, the images in the photos are perfectly seamless, it’s just that I’m not in them. It looks like I was never in the photos to begin with. One of my favourite photos, one that used to be of me and Phoebe, even that’s been altered. Now she’s just standing there, looking really happy. On her own.
I don’t know if I want to go to the doctor’s now. I’m wondering if I do, whether I’ll be taken seriously. I’m starting to feel almost like…frightened, to be honest.
Um…I just…I don’t know…
Huuuur huuur huuur gngngngnh…
…Oh, it’s tried to transcribe the sounds of me crying. The load of… DELETE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH. No, DELETE…Oh, never mind you piece of shit. Well, at least it’s transcribing anything, I guess. Don’t know what I’m going to do with it though. I was going to send this in an email to a friend, but I can’t send emails at the moment. I don’t know how to get this program to transcribe the at symbol, the a contained in a near full circle. When I say at it comes up as the word, not the symbol.
At. AT. AT SYMBOL. Piece of shit.
[Autosaved 18/3/10 9:04 AM]
This working still? Words coming. Not disappearing. Yes? Good!
Uh, I don’t feel so good. I feel shaky, weak, and I look a bit pale. I don’t think I’m getting sick, I just…I suppose I didn’t sleep very well last night. I had a nightmare that I took my brain out and used it as an eraser to rub out my name. Needless to say, I woke up with quite a headache. This whole affair is doing my head in.
[Autosaved 18/3/10 9:27 AM]
Oh shit, no! No! Please work, God dammit it. Don’t do this to me. Oh God, the words…they’re…coming…why is it doing that now? Oh fuck, a virus scan. The virus scan is making the computer run incredibly slowly, and the words are taking ages to appear on screen. But they’re coming, they are coming. I thought…God, I thought I was really screwed there for a moment, I really thought…
Stop it you stupid…What the hell is this?…Why won’t it?…Oh no, what…You’ve got to be joking…What the heck is going on here?
It seems that my computer’s gone and done a real job on me. I don’t have administrative authority to cancel this RAM arresting virus scan just for one bloody minute. And now it seems my computer account is inexplicably gone. There’s just one account called ‘guest’ which I seem to be using right now. And all my folders and files are gone, excepting of course the word document I’m having dictated right now. I don’t feel safe even closing it for fear that it will disappear as well. I was going to just go have breakfast but now I don’t feel comfortable even leaving the office in case the words disappear while I’m gone. This is really ridiculous. I think I need to use the toilet.
Okay, I’ve got my phone here so I’m just going to call a friend of mine, Simon. I think I’ll invite him over and show him what’s going on here.
I’m sorry but this number is not currently connected with our service. If you wish to register for an account, press 1. If you currently have an account with us, but need to reactivate it, press 2.
To reactivate your account, please enter your ten digit activation number followed by the hash key to proceed.
What the hell is this? Where the fuck did I…?
I’m sorry I didn’t catch that. Please restate your query slowly and clearly.
[Autosaved 18/3/10 9:51 AM]
Welcome. You’ve reached the MobiJet service headquarters. To access information about your account, press 1. To adjust your current service plan, press 2. To inquire about a service offer, press 3. If none of these options relate to your query, press 4 to be put through to the MobiJet headquarters, where someone will be right with you.
Hergmahm gmfnghgman anmfghgr
Hello? Hi. The reception is a little bad, I can only just hear you.
Jihtam arrrert. Sergmsrhmsrgh. Kanuh ii biir da.
No, it’s fine. I can hear you.
I’ve been an account holder for the last ten years or so, and for some unexplained reason my account has just suddenly been deactivated today.
Griga tur mrrrrm orr llelm
No, no, I’m up to date with all the payments as far as I know. I haven’t modified anything or cancelled anything.
Err…hang on a moment. How do I access that information?
Huuumsh iid ther ii orna ker iinae gord da. Eeev olm liel insh riic a.
A recent invoice? How recent?
Gagmbser sudndnf. Grmhg msnrhh.
Okay. Yeah, I probably have one lying around somewhere. I just don’t know how long it’s going to take me to find it. It might take a little while, so I’ll call you back when I find it.
Gmsrhgns mgr. Org adanksas mmm si iih hom.
Okay, thanks. Bye.
Oh what the heck is all this? It’s accidently been dictating my phone call, and couldn’t even get that right. How do I get rid of all this, then? Um…Back two paragraphs. Back two lines. Stupid dictating program! Delete previous line. No, DELETE PREVIOUS LINE – Oh you piece of shit I’m suffering practically like a mental breakdown here and you can’t even obey my PATIENTLY SPOKEN, CLEARLY EXPRESSED COMMANDS.
Hhhhhhhhh. Hhhhhhhhh. Hhhhhhhhh. Hhhhhhhhh.
Oh what? Hhhhhhhhh. Hhhhhhhhh.
Oh see that now? Hahahaha. Yes, see. It’s Hhhhhhhhh. It’s transcribing my breathing, because I’m hyper Hhhhhhhhh. Ventilating now. From the Hhhhhhhhh. S-stress of having to Hhhhhhhhh. P-put up with this INCOMPETANT PROGRAM Hhhhhhhhh.
[Autosaved 18/3/10 10:19 AM]
I don’t believe it – they can’t find a record of my account with them, and according to them apparently I don’t live here anymore. Well of course I bloody-well live here. God dammit. So I’m just rifling through a filing cabinet of mine for SHIT IT’S LOCKED WHEN DID I LOCK IT, the key where’s the key, the key…Oh hang on, here we go. Open damn you, open. Okay, I’m searching for my most recent phone account invoice which should have my membership number on it so I can just maybe prove to those dumb fucks that yes, I do exist Thank You Very Much and for their information – Jesus, it’s blank. IT’S ALL BLANK.
No! I’ve got something here it’s – IT JUST WENT BLANK! I SWEAR TO GOD THE PRINT JUST DISAPPEARED IN MY HANDS…
WAIT! I’VE FOUND SOMETH- oh, that’s…that’s not mine. What’s that doing in here? I thought I’d returned it to him. Well that can wait. Come on, come on, there’s got to be something in here, anything about me that’s not blank. It’s goes blank as I look at them, as soon as I touch them.
Lord among us, the paper, so much blank paper! This cabinet alone contains the remains of an entire tree I think. Oh look here’s – no, this has expired. And now it’s vanished. THE WORDS JUST VANISHED. Hahahaha. How efficient! I’ll never have to worry about breaches of confidentiality ever again!
GOD DAMN YOU, JUST LET ME HAVE ONE SHEET, JUST ONE – Oh wow, this one dates right back. Yikes, 1994 – and they keep going. Blank. Next one.
I really feel like I’m mutilating my history as I’m doing this. Blank. Actually I feel like I’ve just walked into a museum or renowned gallery something and am now – blank – pissing on – blank – the irreplaceable artworks – blank. Now that pile is all blank. Bye bye 1994-1998. Can’t believe I was hoarding your paper souvenirs anyway. Well, if they were only bills I can’t say I miss them. Does it go further back? It does. It’s a comprehensive time capsule in here. Come on, one invoice, just one invoi- okay, now we seem to be circa 1990 and still travelling back…Just give me a moment here…
[Autosaved 18/3/10 10:45 AM]
Right well, I think I can safely say I’ve dashed my chances of finding a recent phone invoice. Actually, I think all my invoices are now blank….In fact, I think ALL THE PAPERS are now blank. Because of my stupid curiosit –
No, wait a second. There’s one more, the lucky last then. And wow, this is the oldest yet, in fact this goes right back to –
Oh! Oh! Watch now as the print magically disappears, and…voila, it’s gone. And that brings our paper score up to –
Oh hang on. Hell, that watermark…I think this was my birth certif