So, surprisingly, I’ve been getting a few compliments about my writing lately. Compliments are good for the ego but, more importantly, I hope that they will be good for the writer too. You see, egos, no matter how healthy or unhealthy, can’t write. They can have an effect, but they can’t write. Only a writer can write, but the ego thing can sometimes be helpful.

So, after receiving a particularly nice compliment, I, with a greatly inflated ego feeding me, decided to write my masterpiece! Yes, a few hours ago I sat down at the computer and that big ole ego was speaking to me. It said, “Here it comes…any moment now…a torrent of Pulitzer prize worthy writing!”

It’s a few hours later now. I’m still sitting, still waiting, but just as inspiration is about to reveal itself, I hear somebody on my front porch, which is adjacent to my writing room. One interesting by-product of socially isolating yourself and staying at home is that you can’t answer the door right away or run out on the porch too quickly. If you do, your state of isolation induced dishevelment might be the talk of the town for a long time. No, before you step out on the porch you have to at least try to straighten out your bed-head hair and put on pants and a clean t-shirt. So I did all this, and by the time I was able to step out on the porch to see what was going on, the porch intruder was already a block down the street. But there was evidence of the trespass left behind! A sack with a needed culinary ingredient that my wife had requested from a friend was in the chair next to the front door. Yes, it had been requested, and should be appreciated, but still it was an interruption to my creative efforts! I wondered to myself if Hemingway had to put up with this?

I retrieved this needed item and dispatched it to the kitchen. Then I settled back down to my computer to await my long anticipated, Pulitzer worthy revelation to take place on the page before me. Right when I was seemingly on the verge of experiencing divine inspiration, I was interrupted once again by more noise on the porch and a knock on the door! Prepared this time to meet the world with a slightly less than scandalous appearance, I leapt to the front door and was prepared to confront and chastise the intruder, but she was holding a weapon that rendered me helpless. A fully loaded…you’re not going to believe this…a fully loaded tray of homemade banana pudding cupcakes! She seemed intent on interrupting all of her neighbors and disrupting their attempts at solitary isolation and, armed with an overpowering combo of a genuine smile and a homemade cupcake, I’m sure her diabolical scheme was successful! The nerve of some people!

Moments after this neighbor had made me take the cupcake and then had beat a hasty retreat down the porch steps, I thought about stepping back out on the porch and telling her how I really felt about this intrusion on my writing creativity, but I didn’t do it. You see, my parents taught me that you never, ever talk with a mouthful, especially when it’s a mouthful of homemade banana pudding cupcake!

That night, still frustrated that my writing was so often interrupted, I dreamt that I had a visit from the devil. The devil has visited me before. I’m familiar with his skills. Once, when I was struggling to quit smoking, he left a brand new, unopened pack of Marlboros and a new Bic lighter sitting on my stoop to welcome me home from my long, difficult day of non-smoking. He won that round. Over the years I’ve gotten smarter and I’ve won quite a few rounds too. But this dream offer was a tempting one! The devil in my dream said that he could guarantee that I would become a Pulitzer prize-winning writer. He said that he could do a trick or two and I could have Hemingway’s spot! All I had to do was let the devil stop all of the interruptions that were stifling my creativity. I thought about it. No more interruptions from friends, no more neighbors bringing freshly brewed mead, or their mama’s famous pecan pie, or flowers for my wife or invitations to dinner or gifts of any kind. Just let the devil put an end to all those foolish distractions and he promised that, now uninterrupted, I would be free to become famous, one of the great writers.

Now, the Devil will make you break your promises, but he keeps his. A deal with the devil is a deal! He put that Pulitzer Prize on my mantle and said that, if I would take the deal, it would stay there forever! I thought about it long and hard, and I know that I’ve made the right decision. And now I’m going to get what I’ve always really needed.

Yes, I know I made the right decision, and that Pulitzer Prize is going to look really good, because it will be right where it belongs. Perhaps on occasion I’ll miss seeing it on my mantle, but not nearly as much as I would miss my friends and my family. Bring on the interruptions! And Mr. Hemingway…you can relax!

Once again, I’ve said enough. But you haven’t! Let me hear from you. Tell me how you’re coping with all this. I am thankful that we can depend on each other, and I hope that we can continue to feel proud of who we are and where we’re headed, and that we all appreciate how White Springs and its surrounding region is a very special place, to be honored and protected. Be safe in your socially isolated life in White Springs!

Walter McKenzie


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