madman in the mirror


The quality of my writing started to drop at the same time the quality of my life started to increase. I hadn’t had alcohol or drugs in months. I had found God. I was in a stable relationship. I regularly exercised. I took protein shakes. I hadn’t masturbated in over sixty days and whenever I caught myself in the mirror I found a man grinning back. Who was that man? I touched my face as I looked at the mirror, trying to move the flesh of the grinning stranger. He looked like a madman.

I ran to Christie.

“Christie!” I yelled.

“What?” she yelled back, alarmed.

“There’s a man staring back at me in the mirror.”


“Christie!” I yelled again.

“What now?”

“I’m broke.”

“What’s new?”

I shrugged.

I had been torturing myself to write my next novel. I read somewhere that the morning is the best time to do anything creative, because that is when the brain is most alive. As I worked at my job for long hours I decided that it would be a good idea to wake up at three in the morning, every morning, so I could spend a few hours on my novel. I almost died.

But I still managed to piece a few things together. So far the novel went something like this:

There’s this kid that ran away from home, from his castle. This kid boards a bus and he finds the city. In the city he gets mugged. He runs around, searching for the mugger. As he confronts the mugger a monkey appears in front of him. The monkey reminds this kid that he could do magic. So the kid does magic, and the mugger dies a horrific death.

I looked at my work. After a year of failing at waking up at three (I usually ended up out of bed around six or seven) I’d written about twenty pages. I wept. It was terrible. I ran back to the mirror and still saw the same madman grinning back at me. I crawled to my desk and wept some more. I was disappointed. Why couldn’t I just be rich? Why couldn’t I write a book? Why was I in so much misery? There was a reason out there, but reason was something I didn’t have time for. I kissed my keyboard, and I promised myself that one day, that no matter how hard it would be, I was going to have a bestseller, and I was going to stop being a leach, and I was going to stop being the receiver in my relationship with the world but the giver instead, and I would give and give and give and give until people would get fed up with how easily and mercilessly I’d be able to give.

I picked Christie up and spun her around, and she laughed, and we drove to a mountain somewhere.



Book I’m reading: Don Quixote