The writer pondered the field in search of his next writing prompt. If it weren’t for the steel fence posts the vista would probably look the same as it did two centuries ago. It’s still an old, wise land with endless stories to tell, but no voice to tell them. It was up to the writer to be that voice. It’s just a matter of choosing which story to tell.
He imagined a horse drawn sulky bumping down the dirt track, carrying a young family to church in their Sunday best. He pictured the sheep munching the grass without a care in the world. It’s a thirsty landscape. The writer imagined a weary traveller diving into the dam to suck up the life-giving, murky, sheep-flavoured water.
The writer looked at his feet for more inspiration. The ants were lethargic in the heat of the midday sun. The grass seeds were hitching a ride on his socks.
He needed a writing prompt. Which epic tale, or fanciful poem would he choose to convey? Would he artfully describe the paleness of the blue in the sky? Would he make an account of an unhistorical bushranger? Would he contemplate the musings of the sheep, or the birds; or the foxes hiding in their dens waiting for night to fall?
Nope! The writer decided to write about a writer thinking of something to write. He thought he was so clever, but the lazy cop-out didn’t realise he’d just become a living, breathing cliche.
It’s good to write what you know – as the old cliche goes – but when writers know writing, the only writing that comes forth is writing about writing. Engineers aren’t writers. Doctors aren’t writers. Writer-doctors come around every now and then and they write a best-seller, but a writer writing about writing is just a pain in the…
Realising what he had just done, the writer of this story stopped suddenly. The hypocrisy had hit him like a very clean glass door hits you when you’re not paying attention. Ouch! YOU get a little annoyed because this could count as deus ex machina: the “it was all a dream” cliche. The cliches are all around. You forgive the writer though, because it’s only a short story after all, and it’s not really his fault. He only did it because the guy that’s writing HIS story thought it would be amusing.
I’m going to finish the story though, because I know you want to know how it ends.
The man standing in the field eventually chose not to write about a writer. He looked out and breathed deeply and listened. The wind blew through the trees and told him a story. It was a personal story. A story that the writer needed to hear for himself. He turned for home feeling contented, with the urge to write something silly having left him.
Then he forgot everything and wrote about a writer writing.