My mind was a blank slate as I touched my rough fingertips to the smooth plastic keyboard. I glanced at the missing letter. A gap in the otherwise perfect device. The letter zed. Not so common that I have to use it often; but common enough that I occasionally feel my pinky darting across the bottom half of my computer towards it.
I still had no ideas for the essay. Tryouts for the school soccer team were tonight, maybe I would find something to write about then? Yeah, I could picture it in my mind now: The ball came hurling at me like a bullet flying through the air as I dove, outstretching my body from the initial push of my feet to my extended fingertips...
no. I couldn't count on something that has about a zero–again my pinky darts across, making me lose my train of thought. Usually when I write these things I have inspiration. Usually as soon as the project is assigned an idea roars out of my mouth like an angry lion starved for days. Usually my mind doesn't have to fight its way through every sentence. However right now isn't usually. Right now my brain is that missing zed; once being part of a whole device, but currently not functioning properly.
I remember the last essay I crafted; it was in seventh grade and my topic was “If dragons came to earth.” I wrote about all the architectural changes we would have to make to accommodate their kind. For instance, the doors would have to be much larger so the husky beasts could fit. There would also be a need to change traffic laws so these creatures could fly. That essay came easy to me. This one, not so much. That essay was also theoretical fantasy just so we would practice the graceful art of writing. This one is supposed to be based on a real event; an event with meaning, an event that evokes emotion, thoughts and excitement. It's supposed to, and it will, if I can ever think of such an experience. Yet I've been racking my brain for the past two and a half hours, searching for a ferocious memory that has been bottled up like a confetti cannon ready to explode with beauty; all it needs is that initial tug to send it flying through my body, surging through my fingers ready to create a masterpiece. But that has yet to happen.
So here I am again, in the same chair I was in yesterday, in the same room, in the same building, with the same struggles. Frustration ripples through my body as I look over my zany writing. Again, I feel my pinky lunge at that defective letter, as if it knows in doing so it sends fumes rushing out my ears. I didn't make the soccer team, so writing about that is out of the question. Maybe this essay doesn't have to be based on an incident that evokes good feelings of joy and pride; maybe I can paint a picture of frustration and stress, maybe the beauty of this art is that I can express any emotion no matter what I'm feeling, like one hundred tons of irritation placed on my shoulders by writing this essay. And that stupid missing zed.