I have a block. It’s four inches high and made of wood. I like to write stories, and when I can’t think of anything to write about I draw patterns on my block with felt tip pens and get inspiration from what I’ve drawn. Usually I draw rainbows. I like rainbows, they make me happy. I write a lot of stories about them. The one about the girl who built a rainbow out of plastic as a birthday present to herself. The one about the man who dug for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and kept on digging until he found himself on the other side of the world. The one about the sad man who drew rainbows on his glasses so he’d always have something to look at to cheer himself up. I wear glasses, but I have never done that. Maybe I should.
But now I have lost my block. I have looked everywhere for it. It’s not underneath the sofa. It’s not behind the fridge. It’s not in the cupboard under the sink. That’s usually the last place I look when I lose things, so because people often say ‘it’s always in the last place you look’ I looked there first. But it wasn’t there. Now what do I do? I need that block. I feel on edge without it.
So I’m sitting at my desk, hoping for inspiration to strike. Maybe I should just write another story about rainbows? Just get started. But I can’t do it, not without having drawn one on my block first. I miss my block. My wife once said the block was coming between us, but that’s not fair. I only took it to bed a few times, and how could I help it if she kept rolling on it? Then she put her foot down. (Her right foot was artificial, so she’d often put it down after a hard day at work, then I’d trip over it later and she’d call me clumsy like it was my fault she’d left it in middle of the hallway.) She told me it was the block or her.
She’s gone now. Now it’s just me and my block. Except I can’t find it. Where is it? I suppose I could get a new block. But I like the one I have. We’ve had some good times, me and that block. It’s a conversation piece. When I have visitors – the plumber, the rent collector, that fellow that came to fumigate the flat when it was infested with beetles – they often ask me ‘why do you have a block of wood covered in rainbows on your coffee table?’, and then we have a conversation about it. And then they look a bit confused. And then they leave. Like everyone does. Except my block. Where is my block? I need it.
ChugCHUGchugBANGbangBANGBANG. What’s that noise? Oh, it’s the washing machine. There’s a lot of water coming out of it. I wonder why. Only my trousers are in it. Wait. Did I leave my block in my pocket last night? Maybe. Yes! I did! I did! I’m coming, block! I’m wading through the suds. I’m wrenching the door open. I’m grabbing my soaking wet trousers from the machine. I’m feeling in the pockets. Not that one. Maybe the other one? Yes! Yes! My block! Oh my goodness, my block, my block, my block! I was so scared.
And, ooh – you’re nice and clean now, block. Perhaps you needed a wash anyway. But there are no pretty rainbows on you any more. You’re a little bit plain. We can rectify that. First let’s dry you with a towel. That’s better. Now come with me to my desk. Look at all my lovely felt pens, just waiting for you. Let’s start with a nice red. That looks good. And now maybe yellow and pink and green, then purple and orange and blue. Hey, this is a lovely rainbow. And that gives me an idea for a story about a man and a woman looking at a rainbow in a park on a summery, showery day and falling in love.
Let’s start writing.