Lowered Expectations (A NanoWriMo short story)

She sat at her computer, headphones covering her ears and replacing menial sound with dramatic music. She had it all set up; a hearty ability to power through that pesky need to sleep, a cool fan because white noise is necessary even with music, and a word processor that had both wordcount and spellcheck. Glaring at the glowing screen she considered what she had so far; six thousand words, a healthy dose of self deprecation, and a nose bleed. Crackling knuckles gave way to quiet breathing, measured and thoughtful. She could still salvage this. If she put her shoulder to the grindstone and worked until she started to see pretty, sleep deprivation induced hallucinations, she could hack out a good seventy thousand words. Everything was poised, everything was in place. She opened her document, surveyed the lines of text that stood out starkly against the screen with the look of someone considering just working at McDonalds for the rest of their life, because seriously, this writing stuff was difficult. Everything lay on a feather’s edge, a mirror’s fall. The music reached a crescendo. This was it, perfection for the arts. But she simply sat, staring at the screen; a feather tilted, a mirror smashed, and the music died down to melancholy remainders of its former glory. So many plans, laid like the foundation of a house that could whether a thousand storms, broken when the builders realize that the mortar had not been used. This is how she feels, wondering how the most crucial detail could have been forgotten. She turns away from the screen, a teardrop hovering at the edge of her eye. It was so simple, right in front of her, how could she have missed it. She breaths the words out, infused with a sigh, “I really wish I knew what I wanted to write.” 

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