Often I have met the ill of living, said Italian poet Eugenio Montale. For him, existence is a desolate land through which all living beings must drag themselves without purpose or meaning, only to end up dissolving into the nothingness of death. The latter is the only positive thing that can ever happen, as it represents a sure ending to the pain of being alive. With reason, he is often referred to as “the poet of desperation”.

If a guy with such depressive thoughts managed to win the Nobel prize for literature, it shouldn’t be too hard for me to achieve, given the current state of things.

The current state of things: a white square pillow with the writing “That’s what she said” abandoned on the couch, dust dancing in the light cone that evades the half-drawn curtains in the living room, an endless list of rejection emails to my job applications, a greasy table that nobody has cleaned in weeks, an empty house. 

I sometimes find the ordinariness of my surroundings overwhelming. Especially when it seems like I am the only one noticing that both floors and surfaces need a good scrub, that the garbage needs to be thrown out, that the shoes scattered around the entrance like cockroaches need to be paired up and put on the rack. My flatmates are champions at ghosting when it comes to these things. So I end up doing all the housework instead. 

For a while, the cloth rubbing against the oily cupboard shelves gives me relief —until I eye my laptop, open on standby on the table with its accusing black stare.

As I wipe the sweat off my forehead, I recognise that my diatribe against my flatmates is nothing but a mere diversion from the ill of living that dominates my days —from a story that needs to be told but clashes against the limitations of human language, and a cursor forever flashing on a blank page. The irony of this does not escape me.

I wish that finding the right words were as easy as dusting shelves.

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    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    1 year ago

    Welcome to Voice.Club Luciana. You have made a wonderful beginning with this deep and poignant questioning of a writer’s skill and block. Love your imagery surrounding the computer.

    Marianna Pieterse
    Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
    1 year ago

    Welcome, Luciana! You have described such vivid images in your story, I could clearly picture the greasy table and shoes scattered everywhere and of course, the ‘accusing black stare’. This was a great story. The fact that it is in our human nature to find escapes (like cleaning) makes it very relatable.

    Bella Minyo
    Bella Minyo(@bella-minyo)
    1 year ago

    Luciana, you have written a wonderful story that accurately depicts the procrastination and writer’s block we can all get. I enjoyed the tiny details of your surroundings and how that can affect the creative juices flowing in our minds.

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    1 year ago

    I love this “diatribe” against the “ill of living” that your protagonist is expressing, Luciana. I am sure that sometime, in her quiet desperation, she will find the voice and the words she needs to express her feelings about existence, just like her mentor Montale did. I think this story is something that every writer can relate to as we feel the need to go beyond the ordinariness of the world, to… Read more »

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    1 year ago

    Hello, Luciana and a warm welcome to Voice.club. I found your story to be oh so relatable, when the mundanity of real life gets in the way of what you really need to be doing. It’s almost a form of procrastination in itself, when you know that you need to be writing, but the darned dog is moulting again, and there’s just one hair too many on the carpet, so you get… Read more »

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    1 year ago

    Hello, Luciana. Welcome to voice club. You have written a very beautiful and descriptive story. I love every tiny detail you are expressing in your story that is so relatable. I am excited to read more from you. Well done. 

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