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.



8 thoughts on “A LITANY

  1. 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.

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

      1. 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. 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. 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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