It was a dark and stormy night. After tossing and turning for what seemed like hours nothing had come to him, nothing inspiring that is. If only all that rumbling would subside.
“Honey, should I go sleep in the other room?” Lilly asked.
“No,” replied Allen. “I am going to get a bowl of cereal and then come back to bed. That always does the trick.”
He slid out from the covers and stumbled through the dark room as if he was blind; arms forward, recalling the position of the furniture and dragging his feet, hoping not to do as he did most nights on his semi-conscious trips to the bathroom. Those sudden collisions always murmured sparks of rage that would trigger a “Dammit! Who left that shoe there?” This would wake Lilly and deserve an apology in the morning. My poor wife has lost too much sleep already this week. This insomnia is getting old. He would use extra care tonight.
He made it out of the bedroom, passed the kitchen and made his way to the back porch. He opened the door and stepped out to a wonderfully mild breeze that instantly calmed his tired mind. The weather had just started turning cooler as it does this time of year in Florida and the humidity was low.
It was pitch dark. He stopped several feet from the pool and took in a deep slow breath which seemed to calm him even more. As he stood staring at the ground, the pool started to take on light. He glanced up as one small cloud, the only one in the sky drifted by revealing the most unbelievable full moon shining down on him. He became fixated on it. It had halos around it of blue, yellow and all colors in between. A moon rainbow, he mused and then came just a very slight flush of clarity. It was as relieving as the night breeze.
He retained his stance for several minutes, letting the moonlight flush his thoughts away, hoping that this was another of those moments of change when the trade winds took him in the direction he was seeking. Nothing came. He took a deep breath, sighed and turned to head back towards the house when met his shadow. As he moved it followed, him. He took one step back. Then another forward, paused and did a little spin extending his arms over his head.
“Moon shadows,” he said out loud. Sometimes vocalizing words made them seem more palatable. He added this to his mental list. Nothing came from it instantly. He continued his pursuit by imagining the rings around the moon also encompassing his shadow, forming a halo around it like the outline of his soul. Still nothing came.
The weather tonight was the best he had felt in many months and he welcomed in the autumn. But for Allen Reardon, a storm had been ravaging in his mind for days now. It was all a part of the process and he would weather this storm like all others before. It was just part of the job. He would do as always and just let the words, phrases and images float around his head banging, blowing and stirring like the leaves in a windstorm.
By now he had learned that his best method was to let his internal barometer sink as low as his physical system would allow and just let the free electrons whisk around his skull until the right conditions presented themselves and the funnel cloud came. It was these moments when he would welcome the chaos as if it was the eye of his hurricane. He would grab hold of his broomstick, jump into the spinning house or whatever mental vehicle he could conjure up and let it spin him up, up and away to OZ, wherever the creative cyclone would take him. Most times it was just a word or a single thought that would strike him like a bolt of lightning and he would be propelled with instantaneous velocity where the words would flow out of his pen like torrential rain.
He just needed that trigger, something to release him of obligation and pressure to perform, freeing his analytical mind and let his primitive instincts and energies come out to play. It had to come naturally and without work, fun and imaginative. Pure creativity. Aah, if it could only be sold in stores.
It always came out of nowhere – out of thin air, like the cool night air he was breathing under this rainbow moon (he repeated these two words in his mind but it wasn’t what he needed), like an easterly wind carelessly drifting inland from the sea where it had casually gathered drops of dew and evaporated seawater.
What would trigger this downpour onto the pages of his latest thunderhead? After weathering so many storms, he was seaworthy enough to know that all it took was a vision of a tropical island, a picture, a name, or even a spectacular moon. ANYTHING!
And when that thing came to him, it would catch his mind’s eye enough to bring a relaxing wind of change from the vicious circles and release him, filling his sails.
Despite the turbulence inside, this eye of tranquility he was enveloped in tonight reminded him of Snoopy and his ill attempts to start writing his latest masterpiece. It was just funny enough of a vision to render a chuckle, a smile and with that immediately followed release. And like so many times before, standing here in his PJ’s on the back porch getting lost in his moon shadow, it came like a flash of lightning! His mind experienced that welcoming tropical depression and down pour of thoughts. He was propelled upwards instantly and out of sight of any of his daily rationalizing. And days later he would find himself back at the kitchen table landing happily back on his feet, handing over to his ever so patient wife, Lilly, his latest manuscript, Moon Shadows, a novel about teen vampires and their moon-auras that gave them away. Six months later it would make the New York Times Best Sellers list for eight consecutive months. –Robert Vasvary