by Andrea Graham © 2003-05

My writer’s block began about six months after I met Eli, though it wasn’t until several months after our wedding that I stepped off cloud nine and realized I hadn’t written anything besides love poetry in a year. I was happy, but that was the problem.This gnawed at me until Eli figured out my jealousy over his writing wasn’t just because of the time it consumed. He confronted me and we discussed it. My practical Eli focused on troubleshooting the issue. His solution was to begin a story for me to write as “a creative exercise to get the juices flowing.” Desperate, I let him.

When Eli finished, however, I took one glance at the monitor and handed back the keyboard he just gave me. “I’m sorry, I can’t finish this.”

“Why not?” Eli asked.

I blinked back tears. “Because it’s yours.”

He tried to hand me the keyboard. “But, I wrote it for you.”

“This story is the cry of your heart. It was born of your dreams, nurtured on your hopes, and fed by your fears of failure. It’s your voice. Not mine. This piece is from your mind and I can’t work in it. I appreciate your efforts, but I need a vision of my own.”

Eli was crushed, but he focused on my needs and not the hour he spent working on a story that I couldn’t use and he didn’t have time for. “What’s changed, then, to make you stop writing?” He paused. “It was me, wasn’t it?”

“It’s not your fault. Now that the old dreams have been fulfilled, I don’t know what to write.” I paused. “But I wouldn’t trade you for all the stories in the world. It is better to live than dream.”

“Life without dreams is dead, and a dream unfulfilled is unrealized….” He stopped and we both laughed. He started over. “Surely you haven’t stopped dreaming.”

“All my wildest fantasies either came true or paled in comparison to you.”

“Thanks, Tricia, but what about our dreams? Don’t you dream of owning our own home, raising a family?”

“Yes, but that’s all so….”

“Boring? Unoriginal?”I thought, then admitted, “Well, in a word, yes.”

“Tricia, writing isn’t about dreaming a new dream. It’s about expressing the desires and fears of your heart so that the reader not only relates to them, but comes to a better understanding of their own. We start with the ordinary and create the extraordinary. Start with what is in your heart. Don’t underestimate prayer and sitting alone with God. He is your inspiration. Trish, you shared your loneliness with the world, now share your joy.”

A slow smile curled across my face as the thrill of inspiration rushed through me. I took the keyboard, opened a new document, and soon the room was filled with the happy sound of keystrokes.