‘Writer’s Block’ By Sue Brown
Cyril sat, as usual, hunched up in his chair, away from the group. He grunted in response to greetings from the other members as they arrived. It had been ten weeks since the last meeting of the Wycherley Writer’s Block Support Group and everyone was keen to get back to normal.
The convenor had just begun the meeting when Grace rushed through the door, breathlessly seating herself at the end of the semi-circle.
‘Hi everyone,’ she said in her usual boisterous manner, and started to recount her journey to the meeting.
The convenor cut in and took control. “Thanks, Grace, but I think we should get on,” and there was a murmur of assent as he continued to welcome the group.
“Well, it’s great now the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted and we can get together. I hope it has allowed space for many of you to break the block and start writing.” He smiled encouragingly and surveyed the room.
There was a shuffling silence as people turned to look at each other and then down at the floor.
“James,” he asked, “how have you gone these past weeks; still writing the second part of your autobiography?”
James looked sheepish.
“Well actually,” he said, “not so well. The wife always wanted a pagoda in the garden, so this has been quite a project. In truth we got a little fraught at times, and this in turn affected my creativity”.
The convenor muffled his sigh.
“Well group, do you have any suggestions for James?” Hooked around expectantly, again there was silence, so he turned to garrulous Grace.
Grace jerked her head up when he called her name. She had been wondering if her children were safe at school. Flustered, she explained that the plot for her second children’s book was all wrong and with everyone at home she had had no time to write. She gave a forlorn smile and stopped talking.
One by one it was clear no one had achieved any output during the lock down. The convenor finally appealed to Cyril.
“How have you faired, Cyril?” he asked in a voice he hoped sounded optimistic. Cyril grunted and then said somewhat aggressively, “Before I answer that, what have you been doing?”.
Unruffled and accustomed to Cyril, the convenor responded by saying he was working on a new novel, and showed them an elaborate diagram of the process. The group smiled reassuringly; they had seen such plans before.
Cyril then got up from his seat, picked up a manuscript and said, “Finished: a new Sci Fi offering.” After the initial shock the group burst into applause and Cyril was seen for the first time to smile.
“We’ll miss you in the group,” they all chorused as Cyril left for home, then confirmed they would see each other the following week.
The convenor stayed back and whilst tidying up, he accidently knocked Cyril’s forgotten manuscript from the chair and it fell to the floor—and there it lay, displaying a concertina of blank, white, pages.