The Beach

When Paul arrived, he found David in the middle of another staring contest with his computer. David’s brow furrowed in focused concentration, but the monitor’s cold, white eye simply refused to blink. “Updating your website?” Paul said finally.

David jolted and turned in his chair. “Oh! It’s you… No, I haven’t updated my website in months. I certainly want to.” He shook his hand at the blank screen before him. “I’ve been trying to write all day. But every time my fingers touch the keyboard, I think… what’s the point? I’m never going to sell one of my stories. I’ll be lucky if they even get read.”

Paul looked down at his friend and smiled. “Let me tell you a story for a change…

“Two men lived alone in a cabin deep in the forest. They hunted animals, picked berries, and chopped wood for the fire. One of the men grew tired of this work and decided to change his life. He decided he would become a poet. He sat down and wrote a sonnet, working all day and into the night, finishing the last few lines by candlelight.

“He rose early the next morning and reread his work. He rolled up the poem and inserted it into an empty wine bottle. Corking up the bottle, he walked through the forest and all the way to the ocean. He threw the bottle in the water and watched it float away.

“That night, when he returned to the cabin and explained where he had been, the other man laughed in his face. ‘Do you know how vast the ocean is? No one will ever find your poem!’

“The first man said simply, ‘And yet, the beach was beautiful.'”

David nodded. “I see what you’re saying. Even if nobody reads my work, the creative process has a value all it’s own.”

“No, not exactly.”

“…Then what you’re saying is, even though the odds of success are small, I should still be positive and hopeful?”

“I’m saying let’s go to the beach.” He stepped over to the closet and grabbed a couple towels. “You need life experiences you can turn into stories. Otherwise, you end up writing about sitting at your computer.”

“What, you didn’t like Keyboard Of Desire?”

“That was a terrible story, Dave. There was no conflict, no antagonist…”

David hopped up from his chair. “It was a Man vs. Nature story!”

“A squeaky desk chair isn’t nature.”

“…Alright, fine. We’ll go to the beach.”

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