I approached the microphone. “Hi, my name is Dan. My last blog post was September, and I haven’t written a thing since.”
“Hi Dan. Welcome,” replied the back-lit, silhouetted faces of my would-be judges.
Someone in the front row asked the first question. “Are you willing to share with us why?”
“I like to think I had good reasons, even honorable reasons,” I said. “Since mid-September, I’ve been home maybe a total of three weeks on a travelocalypse that began with a family reunion in Kentucky, a wedding in Colorado, a long planned, prepaid vacation with older siblings in South Carolina, a trip to Singapore, two-weeks with my mother in Florida, ending with Thanksgiving in New Jersey. Hell, I had to list it in a notebook to keep it all straight. I just got back last Sunday to autumn chores that went undone since it all started – which isn’t going to get done until it stops raining in Pennsylvania?”
Another audience member joined in. “We’ve all been through this in one form or another. It’s why we’re here.”
“Thanks.” I played with the microphone stand, embarrassed to confess in front of a bunch of strangers. “I’m glad Stephen King isn’t here. He’d be shaking his head, mouthing the word ‘slacker’.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” the shadowed face said. “Do you try to write while on the road?”
“Yeah, I tried. Packed the laptop and everything.”
“So – what happened?” another participant asked.
I exhaled through pursed lips to gather my thoughts. “Unlike other writers who can pen words to blaring music in a sunny windowed room with views of the birdfeeder, I need the equivalent of a sensory deprivation chamber to coax the muse out of her closet. You see – she’s kind of shy, and prefers I write in a windowless, spare bedroom in the finished basement.” I shrugged. “Just us and the radon.”
I was met with silence.