45. The Trouble With Creativity

It’s already post number 45, and with every passing day, I only have fewer ideas than I had started out with.

The trouble with creativity is that it neither shines, nor does it glow. It flickers in a hopelessly unpredictable, fragile way that LEDs do on a potato battery – not at all reliable, and far too inconsistent to be counted upon when one needs it. Ideally, I’d want this blog to reflect the person that I am, and let it grow as organically as my thoughts do – but there are nights (such as this one) that I stare at the blank screen, and it stares back at me – and I’m always the one who blinks first.

(the refresh rate for my screen is 60 hertz, so technically it’s blinking 60 times every second. Interpret that however you will)

The worst part is that from the very first day, even before I had written the very first post on this blog, wordpress had presented to me the easy way out. The compromise. It looks nice, it sounds nice, but I fear that the price that I have to pay for it is my own soul.

It is called the Daily Prompt.

How it works is deliciously simple: every day, the daily prompt will give a topic for us bloggers to think about – whether it is love, happiness, wonderment, reflection – and we, the bloggers, simply blogs about said topic. It’s easy, it’s nice, and it definitely presents itself as a simple solution to the question of “What the hell do I write next?”

Ideally, I want the words on this blog to emerge purely from the darkness that is the gray matter of my brain. Freely. Organically. But every day it turns to be a bigger struggle trying to figure out what to write next. I tell myself that I should begin writing in the afternoon, so that I don’t end up losing sleep; but then I will also immediately comfort myself with the soothing voice of procrastination: “You’ll figure out what to blog about before the night comes, don’t worry about it.”

And I find myself here. Blank.

There was a short story written by Roald Dahl, titled The Great Automatic Grammatizator. The story spoke of an invention – a machine – that with the twisting of a few knobs, the turning of a few dials, the pressing of a few buttons, and with careful, artful manipulation of a pedal, would produce a work of fiction that is indistinguishable from one produced by a human mind.

(hell, by today’s standards, it could probably beat 90% of the world’s population at writing)

What followed was obvious (to the inventors of the machine, at least): if the machine cannot beat the creative writers out there, why not just buy them out? The machine does not know fatigue. The machine does not run out of ideas. The machine simply keeps running, keeps churning out story after story, each as unique as the last, feeding the masses with what they think is good entertainment – in the long run, the creative writers will have all run out of fuel, but the machine, powered by electricity, would continue working as it had for a hundred years, as it will for a hundred more. One by one, the inventors begin to buy out the creative writers, paying them off so that they will never write another word of fiction – solidifying the machine’s importance in the literary world, monopolizing the market.

(hey, that sounds pretty familiar!)

I’m looking at you, daily prompt. You play a good game, but I’ve got my eyes on you.

I won’t sell out to you.

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