Deadlines

Amanda Granato

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” -Douglas Adams

Deadline. It’s a word that pops up every now and then like a loud, buzzing alarm whenever I sit for nearly an hour looking at a blank screen and dimly wondering why the only words coming to my head are song lyrics. Eventually inspiration will hit and the alarm bells are softly smothered into silence by the clacking of the keyboard and the mellow sound of Vampire Weekend vibrating through my headphones.

Nothing really compares to the thrill of writing, the overwhelming joy one feels as half-formed ideas spill forth from the pen and are born whole onto the page. Words: shiny, sparkling, new, and simply glittering with the effervescence of life that I had given to them. That something so simple- yet at the same time unutterably complex- as giving words and ideas substance, even a substance so small as a line of graphite or a dribble of ink, can give such a rush of elation, is one of life’s greatest gifts. Words have always held me firmly in their grip, whether I’m hungrily devouring them out of a book or putting my own forth onto paper for others, and I’ve become thoroughly, incurably addicted to them. I’m a slave to the power of language, and I delight in the strength of diction. Words allow me escape, and in return I give them substance and strive to bring them to life.

Of course, there are times when the magic runs dry, and the bright, shining words that once held the perfect tone and weight, the right sound and feel, are torn from my mind, ripped away as easily as one pulls a petal from a flower. It’s times like those, when no amount of retinal searing will make those lovely lines of text render themselves on the empty computer screen, that the horribly annoying drone of the alarm begins to go off in my heard.

Deadline. Deadline. Deadline! DEADLINE!

I may or may not have mentioned that these days that lovely alarm has acquired a tone shockingly similar to Mallett’s voice. What an odd coincidence.

Sometimes you do lose the words, the scale becomes tipped and the spell is broken, and you end up with ugly sentences; black, twisted things with no feeling and no emotion to them, just awkward emptiness. But the words have a way of creeping their way back in, slowly taking root in your brain and blooming forth upon the page, new and fresh.

Now I just have to remember to read this the next time I’m stuck beating my head against the keyboard and hoping that the gibberish will arrange itself into tangible sentences on its own.