Overwhelming slience closes in: Now I am like Edgar Allen Poe

I catch my breath as the lights flicker and then go out. An eerie glow emanates from my computer screen. Out the window, I watch the jagged Rocky Mountains swallow the setting winter sun.

“No! Not now!” I mutter. Facing a midnight deadline, my article, ‘It Isn’t Easy Being Green in the Suburbs,’ for Modern Amphibian Magazine is due tonight. A victim of my own poor planning and procrastination, I am sentenced to write with no electricity.

Overwhelming silence closes in; no clothes dryer, no bubbling crock-pot, no music. The only persistent sound is the tick-tock of my battery-operated grandfather clock. Its unrelenting beat reminds me of time slipping by with every click. Peering out into the twilight, I open the window, allowing cold, sweet air to rush in.

I glance at the volume on my desk. Famous American Authors is open to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven.” Sighing, I think of Poe, one of the many famous authors from a simpler time. They were so lucky to have been writing before life was fettered with modern noise and distraction. Perhaps in this silence the Muse will visit me as she did Poe those many years ago.

A cacophonous hum breaks my reverie; the sound of a lawnmower chewing nails cuts the air. Suddenly another motor begins, and a third joins the whirring chorus. Generators? Why in the world would anyone in Colorado need a generator? Acrid smoke fills the air, and a haze weaves into the twilight.

I quickly close the window. Glancing at my computer, the remaining battery life display reads “1%.” Scrambling frantically, I trip over the cat while grabbing for a candle, pen and piece of paper. Victorious, I return to my seat just as the monitor screen fades to black.

By candlelight, my pen scratching against the paper, I hunker down to finish my article. The dark and cold begin to seep through the window. I pull my sweater closer. The persistent tick-tock of my clock hammers louder in my head. I can almost hear it saying, “You’re late, you’re late, you’re late!”  The page is barely visible; I squint and shiver and begin to cough from the generator smoke that has oozed its way into my office.

Then it strikes me: Many of the old masters of writing produced in environments like this. Poe huddled by candlelight in the cold. He breathed the smoky air fueled by the industrial revolution.

With head spinning from fatigue and respiratory failure, I am now like Edgar Allan Poe. But if he could meet a deadline in those conditions, so can I. Pen to paper, I bust it out. The lights blink on, and I begin to type madly as the minute hand of my clock races toward the twelve. At 11:59 I press the “send” button! Breathing a sigh of relief, I lean back and mutter aloud, “I will procrastinate nevermore, nevermore!”

Author: Appleton

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