The simple truth

He wakes up every morning to a blank page. Groggy eyed, he puts on his glasses and frantically scribbles incomplete sentences and untidy words, filling up the paper with all that came to him when his eyes were shut. He can barely grip the pencil but he writes till the last drop of sleep dries up from his whites, when tiny red lines replace the sleep forcing him to splash cold water on his eyes.

Sometimes he dreams about mythical kingdoms full of lyrical beauty, at others he writes about ordinary, haunted lives full of hollowed nightmares. The words are never static; they jump at the slightest provocation, fast paced and changing storylines at random. Chaos has become his signature. He has a dreamlike quality to his writing, notes a critic without knowing how close to the truth she really is.

“What’s the secret to good writing?” he is often asked by eager-eyed, always-broke, soon-to-be-broken young writers. “A good night’s sleep and a blank sheet of paper,” he replies. They think he is being a pompous jerk; if only they’d listen to what he says.

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