Monday, April 25, 2011

"The Writer's Curse"

Time: The B.C’s.

Place: Israel. Or Palestine. Or whatever they called it in the B.C.’s.

It’s two-thirty A.M. King David is pacing anxiously in his atrium. His wife Bathsheba enters in her robe. (Which is redundant. I think all they wore back then were robes.)

BATHSHEBA: “What’s the matter, David?”

DAVID: “I can’t sleep.”

“Is it that ‘Goliath Dream’ again? Where you miss with the stone, and Goliath…”

“No. But thank you for bringing that up.”

“Then what is it?”

“It’s work.”

“You mean, being the king?”

“Being the king is easy. You decree something and it’s done. Sometimes they anticipate, and they do things I’m just thinking. It’s a little creepy, actually.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“It’s the hardest thing in the world.”

“Not reigning.”

“No. It’s writing.”

“You’re having a writing problem?”

“I don’t understand it. The first twenty-two psalms came – Bam! Bam! Bam! You know, like a psalm a day. ‘Lamentation’ psalms. ‘Praise’ psalms. ‘It’s a beautiful day’ psalms. It seemed so natural. I heard the words in my head and I just took them down.”

“You mean your scribe took them down.”

“I fired my scribe.”


“Last Tuesday.”

“Why? Could you not read his scribing?”

“It’s the Twenty-Third Psalm. I’ve been working on it for weeks. That’s a long time for a psalm. And I can’t seem to get it. I have one thing. Then I change it. Then I change it back. Then I go back to the other way.”

“I don’t understand. If you were having the problem, why did you fire your scribe?”

“He sighed.”

“He sighed?”

“You don’t “sigh’ a king.”


“And after he sighed, he rose. I didn’t say, ‘Rise.’ He rose all by himself. I said, ‘Where are you going?’ He said, ‘We’re going to need more parchment.’ But with an attitude, you know? Like, ‘His Majesty has no idea what he’s doing!’”

“What is it you’re stuck on?”

“I’m not stuck! Why did you say ‘stuck’? I’m just…undecided. And I can’t move forward till I get it.”

“So you’re stuck.”

“All right, I’m stuck. Are you happy now? I’m stuck!”

“You don’t have to yell at me.”

“I’m the king. I can yell at anybody. (AFTER A BEAT) Forgive me. I’m a little frazzled.”

“Tell me what you’re stuck about. Maybe I can help.”

“No, that’s okay.”

“Really. I’ll be a sounding board. Sometimes you get too close to the material, and you need an outside perspective.”

“Okay, but only because I’m desperate. I’ve got a lot of psalms to write. I can’t get bogged down on ‘Twenty-three.’”

“What have you got so far?”

“All right. It’s a ‘praise’ psalm, which basically says, ‘I’m not afraid, because God’s watching out for me.’ I wish I could just say that, but it’s not very poetic. It started out beautifully, you know? I drew on my personal experience. I had green pastures in there. The still waters. All the stuff I saw when I herded sheep. That’s actually the underlying metaphor. ‘The Lord was my shepherd.’ By which I don’t mean my shepherd; I mean everybody’s shepherd.”

“It sounds lovely. It’s best to write about what you know.”

“It’s the First Rule of writing. I feel like I’m in this really rich area. I’m thinking, ‘This could be my best psalm ever.’ It could be ‘transcendent.’ That’s how good I’m thinking it is. And then…I get to this place. ”Yea, though I walk through…” and I stop. I can’t decide. Is it ‘Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death’? Or is it ‘Yea, though I walk through the Shadow of the Valley of Death’?”

“And that’s where you’re stuck?”

“I don’t know which it is. The ‘Valley of the Shadow’ or the ‘Shadow or the Valley.’”

“I like ‘the Valley of the Shadow of Death.’”

‘The Writer Speaks!’

“I didn’t say I’m a writer. I just heard both, and one sounded better to me.”

“Oh, it does, does it? Like the ‘Shadow of Death’ has its own valley? It’s ridiculous! Your suggestion doesn’t make any sense!”

“I’m just trying to help.”

“Then help me decide. Don’t decide for me. Jesus Christ!


“I don’t know. It just came out. Look, let’s stop this. You’re just making things worse.”


“And I know why too. You’re deliberately torturing me, because you think I put your husband in the front lines of the battle so he’d be killed and I could marry you which I didn’t!”

“I’m over that, David.”

“Oh, sure!”

“David, you say these psalms are Divinely inspired. Why don’t you relax, take a deep breath, and let God tell you what to choose?”

“That would be lovely, dear. But God, in His Infinite Wisdom, has given us free will. You know what that means? It means I have to decide this for myself.”

“So decide.’

“But what if I decide wrong? I hate free will! I mean, it’s okay in life. But it really sucks in writing.”

“If God is truly your ‘shepherd’, He won’t let you make the wrong decision.”

“So what’s free will then? A tease?”

“Look, do what you want, okay? I’m going back to bed.”

“Good. And thanks a lot for your help. No, really. Woman takes a bath on a roof, and she thinks she knows everything.”

“I knew you were watching.”

“God wanted me to!”

Bathsheba exits. David is once again alone. He continues pacing.

“‘Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death’…’Yea, though I walk though the Shadow of the Valley of Death’… You know what? The first one is better. But if I go with that now, she’ll think it was her.



Joey in DC said...

Great stuff!! I'd love to see this pop up online sometime. Maybe a couple of your friends could do it for, say, Funny or Die?

Mac said...

That's very funny, and painfully close to my life right now. Maybe that's why it's so funny.

cialis online said...

Cool stuff, never pictured in this way.