Short Story | Fiction

Creative Limbo: Imaginary Café Moments Around The [Creative] Block

I poised my agile hands, my left hand tapping over the palm-warmed laptop keyboard, my right hand hovering slightly over the wireless mouse. I waited, my feral mind ready to pounce at any hapless prey that dares venture this idea-deprived thoughts. And for a good reason: I have deadlines to keep. Yesterday.

In a few seconds, I relaxed. Sighed. And dejectedly sipped at my now-stale mug of cheap instant coffee.

Distant office chatter floated in the background, a sad urban mimicry of chirping birds and rustling leaves. I gaze at the majestic scenery of my cubicle— to the west, a breath-taking view of my bulletin board, flourishing with all the things I needed to accomplish and be reminded of. To the south, I was drawn to distant horizons of my two-month office calendar and scheduler, allowing me a peek both of dismal and joyful futures. To the north… oh well, I need to clean up my litter there. And to the east… Ah, windows. The mirror of reality.

I sipped my air-conditioner-chilled beverage. Meh, who enjoys staring outside the window at the daily traffic?

Who enjoys staring at one’s own mirror everyday?

“I would.” The other me replied.

“Yeah, right. All we do is check our face for blackheads.” Another retorted.

I smiled. Finally, a conversation.

It all started with another deadline. Nothing extravagant. Nothing amazing. Nothing even special. It was a simple task, a run-of-the-mill project. A no-brainer, minimum-effort assignment.

And it’s taken almost four days already. And I, with all the over-abundance of ideas, realize I still have nothing.

Having ideas is simple… but having useful ideas? Not so much. There comes a point when you stare at your work and see something alien, and ask yourself: “What is this? What am I doing with this?” And with horrible realization, you recognize it: a tasteless fruit from the tree of mediocrity— and not just a piece, but an entire basketcase of them.

“Just add ketchup.” My thoughts heckled.

“Or turn it into ketchup.”

Sure, when life gives us lemons— create some lemonade. But what if the kind of lemons we got was not sour nor sweet, but rather bland? Just an indistinct fluid that only produce a salivating effect on your tongue? Or maybe it is saliva? Has anyone ever thought or described about what or how saliva tastes like?

I stared at my half-filled, half-hated mug of coffee. Part of me wants to go to the coffee shop and splurge on some hot coffee-flavored sugar water. And a small part of me knows better: his name is Ron’s Wallet.

My ears strained, spying for random chitchats. I wasn’t hoping to catch wayward ideas— I’d need a brain scanner for that (though I doubt it would be of any use on this floor). I just wanted to get away, without leaving my post. Without spending anything. Without actually interacting with anyone. I needed a vacation, and somewhere in the boundless universe of my imagination, I wished there’s a place I can just hide in and lounge in peace.

And someone to share that place with me.

“I’d love to have a vacation with you.” My thoughts sweetly replied.

“Shut up, you’re too annoying.” I said to myself.

“But imagine all the imaginations we can talk about! Like that Crazy Cuisine Restaurant idea! Or all those random story plots that sound cool but too much effort to actually write about! Or how about our favorite philosophical quagmire adventures?”

“I just need to relax. So I can work again.”

“And that’s the problem: work. It’s all about work.”

“Of course! We need to work so we can enjoy stuff— like real vacations.”

“And after the vacation?”

“Work again.”

“And you don’t see any problem with that?”

“It’s just the way this world works?”

“How do you think should our world work?”

I paused.


“See? That’s your problem.”

“You’re part of the problem?”

“And how is that?”

“I’m talking to myself: Problem.”

“Since when was that a problem? We keep a better conversation than with most other people.”

I sighed. True. “Yet you’re still the most exasperating and annoying person to talk with.”

“Because you know I tell the truth?”

“Because I know you tell the truth— and the truth is, sometimes conversations isn’t about discovery and learning and realizations. Sometimes, it’s just about… enjoying coffee. With someone. While listening to the world, or music, or raindrops. While watching people and wondering how they live and love and laugh, despite all the crazy cycle we’re forced to perpetuate. While keeping up hope despite knowing that everything may end in a moment or more— a limbo of uncertainty, ever expectant yet never truly expecting. Because at the end of the day or life, it sucks to have an extended conversation with your own self, no matter how amazing we are.”


Then: “… And so God, in His omniscience and much vexation, said to Man: ‘FINE, I’ll make a woman. Now get on with it.'”

Ha! If only it was that easy or simple. To simply create with a word, some dust, and fresh breath. I wonder how much imagination it takes to come up with the idea of an entire universe or reality, with all its working principles of physics and other sciences. And to keep it working, to keep it wonderful and exciting beyond the expanse of time and existence.

Blogs are made by imaginary fools like me, but only God can create reality.

I poised my lazy hands. My left hand rubbed against my right hand, a universal symbol of “Let’s do this!” attitude. And I waited. And for a good reason: not for the deadlines I need to keep, but because it’s the crazy creative life I chose.


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