The stage is set. There is a confessional box, dead centre. In it, the Father of all Literature is dozing. (Picture the writer you admire the most here. For this short skit, let’s pretend it’s Oscar Wilde.) Enter a young and troubled writer to the stage. He lingers before the confessional. Snubs out his iPod. Takes a deep breath, enters box.
Young Writer: Bless me father for I have sinned.
Wilde: What? Can’t you see I’m trapped between artifice and God!
Young Writer: Please, father, hear my confession.
Wilde: Ok, but only if I can use it in my next play.
Young Writer: Sure. I’ll be fucking glad to get rid of it.
Wilde: That will be three Hail Dorian Grays. And while you’re at it, would you mind popping a few witticisms in the collection box.
Young Writer: Silently mouths Hail Dorian Gray three times.
Wilde (opens a snuff box and inhales the holy spirit): Let’s be having it, then.
Young Writer: It’s this writing thing. It’s made me completely obsessive. All I can do is think about my story, think about writing. All I hear are sentences. All I feel are words. I can’t function in the real world. Or at my job, where I am expected to multitask, do all this stuff at the same time. I don’t work like that. I need to focus on one thing, and one thing only. I’m like a raptor intent on his next meal. I can’t be a damn rabbit mating with everything around me. It’s got so bad, I’m getting bad reviews at my job, I’m seen as a slacker, I’m relegated to the fifth division where all those losers go who can’t understand team play. Everybody thinks I’m bone-idle and is just milking the system. And when I do excel, it’s all just seen as a temporary aberration. They’ve chained my temperament to their corporate mixing machine and now all I do comes out as cement. It’s insane. I’m working like mad on my novel! Losing sleep. Ignoring my family. You see what this writing thing has turned me into. God, I need help!
Wilde: God cannot help you. He’s nothing but upholstery on the battered chair of human aspiration. Would you mind passing me your iPod. I’d like to look up the Wikipedia entry about me.
Young Writer: But I’m living in sin, father! I’m not appreciated. I could lose my job because what I do best is seen as a feverish thing, an affliction. What others see are my failures, I see as the will to not give in.
Wilde: Have you ever heard of the importance of being in two places at the same time? Hopefully not. It will make you start believing in the immaculate conception of time and space. There is no such thing. There is only you and your time and your space.
Young Writer: But that’s just a theory of relativity. And Einstein’s dead and for all we believe in space and time and the possibilities of other dimensions, my job wants me physically in a seat 5 days a week and mentally there for the money. And I haven’t even began to talk about my domestic life.
Wilde: Listen up: Modern’s life’s a bore. If I was you, I’d either marry a rich dowager or else insert a flower in your buttonhole and rise above the mundane on aesthetic wings of a demon and angel.
Young Writer: Are you giving me your blessings then, father?
Wilde: Hell, yes! Now kiss my hand and slip me your phone number. I may need to ring you later.