My Inability to Write

I wrote a prologue for the book I'm working on today.

As some of you may recall, I had a bit of a near-death experience about a month ago that involved being asphyxiated by natural gas leaking in my bedroom. While passed out, I had a series of visions, memories of specific moments in my life that spurred me to wake up and I was able to drag myself outside where I gasped for air for an hour or so and I realized that all of the moments make life worth living.

The next day, I decided that would be good fodder for a memoir.

So I've been organizing my thoughts, trying to decide a good direction to go in (especially regarding the visions sequence -- do I wrote personal essays from each memory or do I try to a Joycean, stream of consciousness style of writing of every memory randomly?) ever since. While writing the prologue tonight (which will actually just be an excerpt from the third part of the book (in which I wake up and drag myself to safety)), I realized that I'm entirely incapable of writing anything meaningful or with any substance simply because of the fact that it has been so long since I last did.

The last time I wrote a personal essay was last summer, when I was considering applying for Roosevelt University's MFA In Nonfiction program. It was called "Brown and Gold Shag Carpet" and it can actually be found on this blog if you scroll back far enough. It was a tremendous essay and, thus far, I've considered it my grand opus. And, like the terrible writer I am, I didn't put my Golden Rule of Writing into practice ("Write everyday regardless of content, style or worth!") and now I am scraping off the layers of dust and rust from my pens and struggling to come up with anything remotely worth reading.

It's a shame how my greatest passion in life has become such a frustrating chore.

At any rate, here's what I have so far:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I shot up, out from under the covers, and took a deep breath, frantically scanning the room for my escape. I lost myself in the darkness and wondered whether I had opened my eyes at all--if I was even awake or still dreaming. My body tingled, too numb to help me tell the difference. The whirring of the fan in the corner and the warmth of my blankets were the only indicators of my location.

I must be awake.

I forced my right leg out of the bed and felt the fibers of the Berber carpet scratching the bottom of my foot. After planting it there firmly, I swung the rest of my body in that direction, planted my left foot next to its counterpart and straightened my back. Under any other circumstance, getting out of bed is never this much of an ordeal; but, in my condition, fighting dizziness and the loss of feeling in all of my extremities, I needed to be absolutely sure of my every move.

I slid myself off the bed slowly, easing all of my weight onto my sea legs, stood up, tall and erect, shuffled my right forward, my left, my right. After a few of these baby steps, I was overcome yet again by a fit of dizziness and collapsed, in a heap, to the floor. I lay there, lifeless, gazing listlessly into the blackness and tried to breathe.

I must be dying. I don't want to die. I don't want to die.

I lay there for a few minutes, a few years, in the fetal position, fighting the urge to fall asleep, fighting the blackness of the basement from enveloping me and swallowing me whole. I rolled over onto my belly and, with every last bitter ounce of energy in me, dragged myself across the floor, with my forearms, to the stairs that led to my redemption. Very slowly, I dragged my lifeless body up the stairs, step by step, never pausing to catch my breath. The fear coursing through my veins, consuming my entire being, produced just enough adrenaline to give me the strength necessary to pull my weight up each stair. The small sliver of light shining through the crack under the door was my goal.

I must go toward the light.

At the top of the stairs, I reached up, fumbled in the dark for the doorknob and, upon finding it, gave it a weak turn and pushed the door open with my forehead, collapsing again onto the hardwood floor in the hallway. Again, I laid still for a few moments and collected my thoughts. To my left I could see the door to the backyard. My blood boiled in my veins and caused me to sweat profusely. I pushed myself up to all fours and crawled like a dog through the kitchen to the back door, pushed it open and was met by a cool breeze that felt even cooler on my hot, wet skin. A few dozen more feet to go and I'd be safe.

I crawled across the deck, past the grill and the patio table and collapsed into the grass; every blade tickled my back as feelings started to reappear and I laid there, lifeless and alone, gasping for air, savoring every molecule inflating my lungs. The breeze blew the clouds in my mind away and I gazed intently into the night sky. The stars were so clear, and so bright.

I must be alive.


  1. That is REALLY good. Like, amazingly good.

  2. I've had nightmares like that before. Very scary to actually experience, I'm sure - but it definitely makes for a fantastic prologue. I can see myself reading that on break from making coffee at Borders... :)

  3. Nice! Enjoyable, descriptive, exciting. CC-Maybe cut up some of the run-ons that occur once you hit the top of the stairs. Doesn't quite read swiftly there, but everything else is money!

  4. Yes, I definitely enjoyed your blog.
    Your blog is one of my favorite to read, so write more!