“A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.”
Why do I keep hearing that in my head? It’s that thing, isn’t it. The one that stares at me as I try to sleep. Does it look like I’m wasting my mind? No. Don’t answer that. I don’t want to hear what you think of me now. I know I’m wasting away because of … IT. But my mind. It’s still there. I’m sure. Pretty sure. DRAT!!!
I don’t even know what this creature is or what positive purpose it ever served. I used to love it so, but now it must be destroyed before it destroys me. That monster drains everything from my mind, my heart, my being. I feel like I’m slowly dying and yet I continue to breathe and walk and talk. But my heart doesn’t beat like it used to. The joy has left me. I’ve become dull and boring. I try to shut my ears to the incessant jabber, but my eyes see the images it projects, and it sucks me in again.
I remember when we first met. We were both so young. It sang to me and made me laugh. Sometimes it would tell me stories. Oh, I loved it so dearly. I looked forward to spending time, enchanted time, sitting in front of that creature and just be mesmerized by it. And then it would tell me of new and miraculous things that I had never heard. Amazing how much that creature knew. Late at night, it would go to sleep and I would, too.
Over time, we grew up. But we spent less and less time together. I went off to college, graduate school. I worked, had a family. There was no extra time to spend with the creature. And that was fine — with both of us. The creature had found others to torment while I felt free to find myself. I learned to sing, to make other people laugh and to tell stories. I felt special. I felt loved.
My children grew up, got married and had children of their own. They moved away. My love and I would look at each other and not know what to say. The creature crept back into my life. Yes, it was slow, but it was determined. The worst was yet to come.
The beginning of the end came the day after I retired. I woke up with no place to go, nothing to do. When I opened my eyes, the creature was at the foot of my bed, beckoning me. I fought with it. I truly did. And I almost won.
Alas, it’s been five months since that day. I lost. I lost my battle with that creature. I can’t sing anymore. No one thinks I’m funny. The stories have dried up. I’m suffocating but not in a physical way. The creature, that thing, IT. There is no quiet anymore. There is only ongoing blather of empty lives and singing and dancing and fake laughter for hours. I want to scream. I have to shut it up. GO AWAY!
But I don’t know how. In frustration, I threw the controller at it. Just once, but breaking the device. Now I can’t stop the creature. At all. Five hundred images and voices that I can change, there is no quelling its power. I can only stare at it and feel vindicated when that awful thing judges others as they compete for the top spot and then tosses them aside in embarrassment. I know they are all laughing at me, too, as I’m a captured audience. Stuck. Glued to IT. I have been hypnotized by what used to be the white noise in the background.
I crawl out of bed and approach the creature, looking to see how I can conquer it. And then I spot it. A long wire with three prongs at one end that gives the creature its power. I grab the connection and with all my might I pull it and pull it and pull it.
Finally, FINALLY, I have found its source. I am victorious. The creature goes quiet. No sound. No picture. I take the remote control device and smash the screen. “I AM FREE!” I scream.
I dash around the room looking for paper and pen. I have broken the bonds that have kept me down. The pen meets the page. Words easily flow from the ink onto the paper. I read them, but they don’t make sense. That’s okay; I say to myself. Keep at it. You are just beginning again. Give yourself time. It will come back to you. The novel, your novel, the Great American Novel is only a few strokes away.
Peace and quiet. Focus and commitment. They have returned. I will be a writer — again.