Hemingway’s Block

There had been a time. There had been a time when he had known there would be time like there was now. But he had not known it would be like this. He had not felt it.

He had watched the sad old men down on La Playa del Mar and laughed at their sadness. How they tapped at a typewriter. And from their tapping came only letters on the page. Men scribbled on cigarette packets with biros long turned white with their emptiness. No words, not even letters for them. The memory of letters indented on wood pulp. Indented like the memory of words in his head.

But now was the time he had known would be his, but had not known that it would be like this. The time he had not felt before it arrived.

He looked up from the sand and watched the young men, the men with juice in them, with life in them, with words in them. Words they did not use, or used too much as the fancy took them because for them, now, there would always be words.

He should tell them, shout to them as they promenaded past him, laughing. He should shout, ‘Write. Write right now’. But they would laugh more, and go about their laughing with a joy, because that was what there was now, for them. Laughter at the endless flow of words. As he had once laughed.

He looked at the empty screen. He could write on the sand. It would be the same. It would be better.

Would he have laughed at writing in the sand when he walked where they now walked, laughing?

He would. He knew he would have laughed. Laughter was cheap when one had words.

They would laugh. Writing on sand. The wind and sea and feet would erase the words. Why write words to have them erased?

But the memory of the words was in the sand. Clearer than in the memories of men. Sand and sun, red in the Plaza de toros would sanctify the words. Each spilling and recasting of grains and blood recast the words anew.

He would write in the sand and die.

Other deaths would retell his tale.

And he would laugh again.

He took his laptop.

He could not write in sand with a laptop.

He would go and drink Sangria and think what one wrote with in sand.

Maybe he would ask one of the men and they would laugh together and watch the young girls laughing.

In the morning he would write.

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