Prompt: You’re in a waiting room at a clinic that promises to cure writer’s block.
My hands wrung together nervously. I glanced around the waiting room, observing a few of the other’s seated around me. I leaned back in the chair, then crossed my legs, then uncrossed them. Nervous energy coursed through my veins, pumping through me with every heartbeat.
I stood, then smoothed my skirt. A woman sat behind the receptionist desk of the office. Her glasses sat on her nose and her penciled brown eyebrows furrowed together.
Her fingers flew over a keyboard as she stared at a computer screen. I walked over. “Excuse me?” I asked.
She looked at me over her glasses, her gray eyes silently scolded me for interrupting her work. “Yes, miss?”
“Ho-“I swallowed a lump.” How long until I get called in?”
The woman whipped off her glasses. “Have a seat, and be patient.” She replied coldly.
I nodded nervously and took a seat again.
Someone opened a door and popped his head out. “Mrs. Greenfir?” He called.
An older woman stood and walked over to the door. “That’s me.” She smiled. “I heard you can help with writer’s problems?” She asked before following him.
The man’s voice came through, slightly muffled by the closing door. “That’s right. You’ll be fresh with ideas and words will be flowing in no time... although...”
I strained to hear more, but I couldn’t make out the rest of what he said. I sat nervously waiting, a young man stared at me from where he sat. “You here for getting help with writer’s problems?” He asked.
I nodded slightly. “Writer’s block.” I paused a moment. “You?”
He sighed and leaned back in his chair. “I seem to have way too many ideas and I don’t know where to start..”
“Oh.” I swallowed hard.
The door opened again. “Miss Gold?” A soft, female voice called.
I stood quickly and walked over to the lady. “Yes.”
“Right this way, Miss.” The nurse led me to a room and had me sit on a chair. “What symptoms have you been experiencing?” She grabbed a clipboard and peered at me.
“Uhm.. Well...” I hesitated.
“Go on.” She coaxed.
“Mostly writer’s block,” I started. “I haven’t been able to get ideas down.. I just haven’t had inspiration to write.” I sighed.
“I see.” She scribbled furiously on a paper. “The doctor will be right in.” She glided out the door.
I sat in the chair, nervous. Who knows what the doctor might say? Would he give me some sort of medication? A list of prompts? A lump formed in my throat; or would he tell me to stop trying and give up writing?
The doctor slipped into the room. His white gown swooshed as he shut the door. He glanced at me with his green eyes studied me for a brief moment. “Miss Gold?” He asked.
“Yes, sir.” I replied.
“Well, seems you need some help, correct?” His eyes locked onto mine.
“Yes.” I swallowed hard. “Do-do you have a cure..?” I nervously asked.
The doctor threw his head back and laughed. “A cure?” He laughed as though I was crazy. His eyes grew serious along with his voice. “I do have a so-called cure, which may or may not help you.”
“Please, share it with me.” Hope welled inside my chest.
He set the his clipboard down and grabbed a chair. He sat himself down and turned to face me. “How often do you write? Do you overwork yourself?”
I could feel my face turn red. “I try to write everyday, multiple times a day,” I paused “Overwork myself..? Uhm, I guess occasionally I do.”
The doctor chuckled. “There’s the problem. You work too hard and try too hard to write.” He touched my knee. “Stop trying so hard.” He leaned back in the chair.
“So.. you’re saying I should stop writing?” My voice grew harsh. “That’s your cure?”
He laughed again, causing shivers to tingle up and down my spine. “I didn’t say to stop. Although..” His voice trailed off.
“Doctor Kinston, I mean no disrespect, but you just told me to stop trying.” I could feel my emotions getting the best of me. “What else could that mean, except to stop?”
The doctor stood and smoothed out his coat. “Miss Gold, the cure is up to you.”
“Pardon me?” I stood abruptly. “I came here to get a cure, and you are telling me that the cure depends on me?”
A laugh erupted from his throat once again; how I wished he’d stop doing that. “That’s right.” He motioned to the door with his hand. “I have other patients to get to. Are we done here?”
I grew frustrated. “What do you mean?”
His eyes turned to me and shone like gems. “I mean, you decide what to do. You decide to write, that is the cure. You decide to take a break, that is the cure. And so on.” He cleared his throat and grabbed the doorknob. “You decide if you want to help yourself by finding ideas, organizing ideas, and so on.”
“But-” I started.
“Good day, Miss Gold.” He swept out the door.
I stormed out of the room and into the waiting room. “It’s a hoax!” I screamed. “There is no cure!”
The receptionist glared at me. “Miss, I demand you quiet your voice!”
I turned to her, fury growing inside of me. “The doctor said there is no cure!” I screeched at her.
She yanked off her classes. “And he is correct.” Her hand ripped a sheet of paper off a stack and she shoved it towards me. "Sign here," Her long finger pointed at a line.
I huffed and grabbed a pen, angrily scribbling my signature. "Now, anything else I can help you with?" She asked.
"Why isn't there a cure?" I asked, my fury slowly subsided.
"Because, there is no cure for writer's block," She said the words that I had always feared most. "You have to overcome it. And that," Her finger pointed at my chest. "Is up to you, my dear." Her eyes narrowed. "Meaning, the cure, is up to you."
I sighed and shook my head as I left the building. I supposed the doctor was right, the cure was up to me.