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Title: Meeting with the Muse
Author: jsblume
Style/Genre Prose / Fiction / - Not Classified
Description: An unexpected and unusual meeting

Jack almost missed the office door, sandwiched as it was between two storefronts. The ancient lettering on the door was worn but still legible: AMuseMent for You. He entered and climbed the stairs to Oquina's office. She was standing like a Goddess at the far end of the waiting room.

"Jack, it is so good to see you!" she said.

Jack was entranced, and couldn't speak for a moment. He'd forgotten how beautiful she was. Already her melodic voice and dark, mysterious eyes were working their magic, and he thought he felt a spark.

"Come into my office, won't you?" she said, indicating a door to her right.

Jack followed her in and sat down on the love seat. She took up her usual position in a large, comfortable-looking recliner.

"You know why I called you in?" she asked.

Jack cleared his throat and nodded. "Uh, yes. Yes, I do."

She waited expectantly.

"I, uh, haven't gotten much writing done this past year."

"That is true. And with the New Year a half day away, I wanted to talk with you about next year."


Oquina smiled. "Okay. So, talk to me."

"Well, I guess I've been busy this year," Jack said, shrugging.

"Yes. Your third volume of contest entries, which should have been published in November, is only half done."

"A lot has been happening."

"Mm-hmm. I noticed you haven't been on the FanStory website much."

"Oh, yeah. The contests don't seem as interesting as they used to be. And the reviewers -- man, sometimes I get some real lame reviews."

"I see. And, you don't even visit the NYCMidnight website anymore. You always liked their heat assignments."

"Yeah, that's true. But, it costs a lot to enter and the judges seem to give me contradictory reviews."

"You were excited with one of the loglines of the Industry Insider contest. What happened?"

"I think that was about the time my wife and I separated. Besides, I can never quite get those first 15 pages of a script right. I'm always falling short somehow."

Oquina watched him thoughtfully for a moment.

"Jack, I'd like you to do something for me."


"I run a group that meets once a week in my conference room. It's for writers who are having trouble, like you. It's completely anonymous. I'd like you to sit in today."

"A writer's group?"


Jack glanced at his watch.

"We booked a two hour meeting today, Jack. I know you have the time."

He hung his head. "Well, I guess."

"Good! Please come with me."

Jack followed her across the waiting room and through the other door. Inside, nine chairs formed a circle and all but two had an occupant. Oquina gestured to one of the empty chairs as she sat down in the other.

"It's wonderful to see all of you today!" she said. "Before we get started, I'd like to remind everyone of the sanctity of the circle. This is a safe place, and what is said here stays here."

"Amen," the group, except for Jack, replied in unison.

"Okay! Why don't we get started? Who wants to go first?"

A tall, stocky woman with shoulder-length black hair raised her hand.

"Yes, Georgia."

"Hi. I'm Georgia, and I'm a blockaholic."

"Hi, Georgia," the group replied in unison. Except for Jack; he was staring in disbelief at Georgia.

"I think I had a real breakthrough this week. I was tracking my distractions, like Jeff had suggested," Georgia nodded to a lanky, long-haired man who looked like a hippy. "I think I saw a pattern!"

"And what was that pattern?" Oquina asked.

"Well, I would show Mark, my husband, what I had just written. He'd usually ask about a detail, and his question would get me to thinking. So, then I'd go on the Internet and do more research. I realized I was doing the extra research because I didn't feel confident in the details I had. Then I'd spend a lot of time debating about how much more detail to write, and I'd lose track of the story."

"It's very easy to overcompensate when you are not feeling sure."

"Yeah. I guess I don't know what to do now that I know that about myself."

"Any ideas from the group?" Oquina asked. "Yes, Jeff."

"What I do, man, is like, I go back to the source. I take that comment and put it a box. They say think outside the box, but that can, like, ruin you if you get too far out, you know? I put it in the box and focus on just that comment and just what I need to do to deal with that comment. The minimum. Do I add a little to my story, and I mean a little, or do I pass it by? Because, it's like, it's my story. No one else's."

"That is beautiful, Jeff," Oquina said. "Thank you."

"No, wait a minute," Jack said, waving his hands.

"Yes, Jack?"

"Georgia is a what? A blockaholic? I don't even know what that is."

"Yeah, man, I get you. It's like, I don't know myself sometimes. What is this thing? What's it doing in my mind, body and soul, dude? How do I get it out of my head?"

"Sabrina?" Oquina had noticed Sabrina's partially raised timid hand. She was an elderly woman.

"H-hi. I'm Sabrina, and I'm a blockaholic."

"Hi, Sabrina." the group replied.

"It's like, an addiction. It's like, I can't stop blocking myself. It's like, I want to block myself; I need to block myself."

"So, what?" Jack said, incredulous. "Everyone here is suffering from writers' block?"

"Yes," Georgia said. "And this is our support group."

"Well, I think I'm in the wrong place, then. I do not have writers' block."

"Denial, dude."

"Jeff," Oquina said gently.

"Sorry, dude. I shall not name his block nor shall I judge him, but guide him on the path to the truth."

"Look, you guys don't understand. I've had a lot happen to me this year. I've been depressed because of my marriage, work has been stressful. I don't know about any of you but I do work full time. It's hard to find the energy to write! And when I do write, it's like it doesn't matter. My brain is so exhausted from doing so much and trying to get what I want out of life, and just not getting there."

"And what is it you want, Jack?" Oquina asked.

"I want to write!"


The question hung in the air while Jack struggled for an answer. His face contorted in emotional pain and his focus went deep.

"Because I love to write," he finally said with a passion in his voice that startled him. "It brings me joy. I love creating my worlds, and, and..." Jack dropped his head into his hands.

"Dude, there it is, man." A murmur of agreement passed around the circle.

Jack looked up. "But why am I letting all these other things take me away from that?"

"Well," Georgia said, "that's why I come here. To find out why I do that."

"Amen," the group said.

Jack caught each person's eye around the circle. Kind, gentle, understanding eyes.

"Hello. I'm Jack." He took a deep breath. "And I'm a blockaholic."

Copyright @2014 by jsblume. All rights reserved.
jsblume has granted JS Blume Publishing™ non-exclusive rights to display this work.

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