I came here intending to write. I believed that simply being here would be enough; that the floodgates would open, words tumbling like water and all I would need was my laptop with its ability to save.

I drove on the back roads making my way straight across the flat and, like a mariner, hopeful for the first sighting of land, I stared through the dusty windshield.

I switched on the radio, the music instantly, tediously, recognisable and I began to reel off the titles of the songs and the names of the artists. My disappointment quickly turned to despair and I began to rail angrily at the radio as I drove, desperately retuning again and again in a vain search for a healthy burst of cynicism.

I lost count of the days and the distance covered between motels gradually lessened. When I retreated into a room I pulled the curtains – a ritual that had begun in an effort to create a space for myself, a corner where I could write.

I had stopped carrying the laptop from the car and it languished, abandoned, on the backseat but not forgotten. I still intended to begin if only to clear my head, to sift through the cliché ridden results for a possible glimmer. But instead, I settled again and again with a six-pack and when it was drunk I lay across another motel bed. Not until the maid using her passkey entered the room and, apologising, backed out again would I rise.Image

When I do begin it is without thought, I begin to process, pushing a pen, forcing a groove into my finger which deepens and becomes livid and won’t harden, not until I have filled my notebook. Avoiding my usual illegible scrawl I transcribe from memory in carefully constructed capitals song title and artist, song title and artist, ensuring there is room on each and every page for nothing more.




  1. chrisnelson61

    This is a well known feeling (in my case often brought on by laziness) – the idea that a change of scene/ habits will provide the sudden burst of inspiration or drive that we need. You have woven this really skillfully into this piece, Mark , and I think that your title works well using either its more usual meaning or its religious conertations. A highly enjoyable read.

    • markrenney1

      I don’t know that you can look for inspiration – I believe more often it arrives unannounced. Thanks Chris, regards Mark.

      • markrenney2

        I know I have dreamed the great novel and it is all there for milliseconds after I wake but then is lost. I think it was William Burroughs who kept a dream journal – I wish I were able to do the same.

  2. j.h. white

    This has an eerie deja vu to it, Mark….

    I process my own thoughts most often in words….or there’s insight which I have to find a way to translate… ( I was surprised to learn that others process thought in any number of ways. For instance some “think” in images. )

    In my early twenties I remember riding on a train feeling uninspired, with nothing …nothing in my head but an uncomfortable hollowness that was reaching into softer spots. So I started compulsively reading the road signs and billboards. As if I was reading my way, one step ahead of something following me…

    You caught the essence here….perfectly.

  3. markrenney1

    I am really pleased that this piece evoked such a vivid memory for you. Dare I suggest this reminder may be the beginning of a poem? Thank you Jana, regards Mark.

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