One time, I was at Starbucks enjoying an over-roasted coffee. I was trying to put the finishing touches on the great American novel. The story was top-secret. The end had a really unique situation. My protagonist, Zeek, was tied to a railroad track and needed to escape somehow. I closed my macbook and people-watched for a few minutes, looking for inspiration. Two cops walked in and without hesitation, I had my deus ex machina. I opened my laptop and wrote in two heroic cops speeding toward the train tracks, but then, out of nowhere, a killer robot flew down from the sky and fired lasers at the squad car, incinerating the possible ending. I slammed my macbook shut, clapped my hands, and called myself a moron. Great American novels surely don’t have shit endings. Coffee shop patrons of all sizes shot me a glance. My mind was too caffeine-crashed to pay my audience any attention. I needed to stick this landing.
The key to writer’s block is gum. Don’t let anyone tell you different. They are your jealous competition who aim to blow up your creative supply of stories. If one gum doesn’t work, pop in two. If two doesn’t work, chew on three. If three doesn’t work, keep going, because eventually you will find your muse. This was a five-stick day for me. I gave a thumbs up to the hipster girl with the nose-ring sitting alone at the table next to me. I scrolled to the glow-stick party in chapter four, clicked to the funny part where Zeek dropped a clever line on Miranda, the goth girl who didn’t care, but really did care. I typed “Zeek asked Miranda where she lived. She said, ‘the other side of the tracks.’ Zeek took a mental note.” I clapped and laughed again. The only way the story could get more brilliant was if it was a six-stick day.
As the train barreled down the tracks on Zeek, Miranda coincidently drove past the fuming debris of the squad cars. She turned her head and spotted Zeek tied to the tracks. She swerved her blue hatchback off the road, onto the gravel, and parked near Zeek. The train seemed to pick up speed. Miranda jumped out of her car but didn’t have anything. Shit. I went back to chapter three and added another line that she “Loves knives.” Boom. Genius. Scary, cryptic, with clever foreshadowing. Check-check-check. Miranda pulled out a giant knife holstered in her boot and sliced Zeek free. They both jumped to safety out of the path of the train. Before they could acknowledge each other’s feelings in the heat of post-train-collision raw supernova of emotions, the damn robot appeared again and blasted Zeek and Miranda, combusting both into balls of flame. Damn it, I needed to write out the robot now. I slammed the computer shut.
My gum supply ran on empty. I leaned over to the hipster girl with the nose-ring and asked, “I know this might sound crazy, but I need to find a way to save two people, do you have any gum?”