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Christmas Revisited (standard:romance, 1423 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: Dec 18 2008Views/Reads: 1687/868Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
On Christmas Eve a writer is given a wish...a chance to inspire a young man.

Tom loved mornings; loved a cup of tea while listening to the shipping
forecast on radio four.  Writing is so much fun when an idea comes 
floating by, waiting to be plucked out of the air and thrashed down on 
paper. But writing is mostly about not having an idea, and blankness 
becomes some absurd monster waiting to devour him without trace. 

So, this early Christmas Eve morning he sits down to find something to
say, but what?  He looks hard at what has gone before. Six weeks of 
hard work has produced little he likes and when such things happen he 
is prone to lose confidence and thinks about becoming the writer who 
has the outstanding ability, the peculiar talent of being the only man 
in history who put down five million words without slapping to life one 
substantial character. 

What, he wonders, can he say about writing that hasn't already been
said. He's a man who had seen his fiction on the shelves, written, 
done, finished, a life of writing and composing. Moons have waxed and 
waned, trains have arrived and departed, and these things might have 
happened... but went by unnoticed because of writing. 

There are tears in the back of his eyes as he fights the memories and
the present thought of blank paper in front of him.  He's thinking this 
when two hands fall upon his shoulders. It's his wife. Katherine. He 
rests a hand on hers, tears brim under his eyelids. 

‘I know there is nothing I can say, or do, Tom, I know what is happening
in your head is private and your own. I know how difficult it must be 
to be always going on, to be always thinking about something 
remarkable, or ordinary, but you can do it because you've always done 
it. It's just, well, I can see when you're despairing and sad and I 
love you just the same and just as much as when your ideas come easily 
and you're happy and fun.' 

She hugs the back of his head and closes her fingers on his shoulders.
He tries to smile without turning to look at her. Then tear that wells 
falls away. He's a man who has fought all his life, if it not with his 
fellow man, with blank paper. Christmas is approaching over the 
horizon. The white lady on the point, ten miles away, stands like a 
monument to strength and reliability. 

By nightfall Tom has four thousand words down; hard bitten words that
came not from inspiration but from hard work and the belief that, as a 
writer, he could not afford the luxury of sitting around waiting for 
inspiration to write the books; it never had, it never will. 

Katherine sits snug in a large, comfortable chair. Her knees tucked up
under her chin, staring out the window. She wonders how it had all 
happened.  One day the world faltered and life would never be the same. 
The millennium had come and gone. She looks over at Tom working with 
pencil under the soft light. Their friendship, too, has come a long 
way. Now knotted together and relaxed in the warmth of marriage. He 
fears less with her at his side. She sips a glass of wine as darkness 
closes in. 

‘Shall I light a candle, Tom?' 

He looks up from his work. 

‘I think that'd be nice.' 

She rises from her chair, lighting a candle in the window. 

‘This, above any other, is a night for candles.' He says, softly. 

He puts down his pen and joins her. She pours a glass of wine. 

He sighs heavily. 

‘I'm difficult, aren't I, the way I live my life, the way I have my life
with you...and for what, because I need to know; I just need to know, 
and, Katherine, I'm not sure what it is I want to know anymore. I'm 
just glad with all my heart that I live the life I do, for my quiet 
life, finally, and for being a writer.' 

His voice faltering, heart breaking and she knew why. 

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