The Creative Process

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In a city locked in space, stuck to a spinning marble, rotating around a spewing giant of flame, an insurance salesman sharpened a wooden pencil to a precision point. Declan Wallace tapped the spear end of the pencil on his wooden desk and shuffled a stack of paper into a perfect tower. Tap, tap, tap. He took the top paper from the tower. Tap, tap, tap. He glanced at his analog watch and, at precisely 7:45 am on Tuesday, exploded into a thousand pieces.

The End of the World

Mrs. Garrison lived in apartment 331, above Sanjay Gautam in 231. Mr. Gautam wrote spy novels under the coincidental pen name, Eleanor Garrison. Of the dozens of novels he’d written, the best-selling was At The Final Hour Of The Doomsday Clock. This novel didn’t outsell Mr. Gautam’s others because it was a better story. Far from it – one reviewer called it a “boring slog wrapped in a wet towel.” This particular novel outsold the others because it contained a coded prediction about the end of the world. The resulting sales numbers weren’t owing to the coded prophesy itself, but because the back of the dust jacked boasted, “This book will reveal everything you want to know about the end of the world.” To date, five hundred thousand novels have been sold. To date, no one has decoded the prophecy. Mr. Gautam remains quiet about the prophesy, saying only, “Yes. It’s in there.”

The Goldfish

Five stories above the busy city street, a solitary shadow peers down from an open window surveying the splattered remains of a former Hollywood starlet. Police lights surrounded the onlookers with a red-and-blue disco as the roar of the crowd swelled to an indistinct choir or voices. A pair of sweating hands gripped the window sill. The voices in the hallway outside the fifth-story apartment grew louder. The door crunched in, splintering from its hinges. Dozens of police boots stormed across the fallen door and ground splinters into the carpet. The sweaty hands rose as the shadowy figure turned to face the intrusion. Flashlights split the room into geometric shapes. And, from across the room, a goldfish telepathically communicated with a murderer who had just pushed his wife from a five-story window. “Why’d you do that?” the goldfish asked.


What a person thinks about when he’s caught in the silent, frozen fraction of a second between one moment and the next says a lot about who he is. Declan Wallace thought about art. He stared blankly at an insurance form and wondered at how paint scraped on canvas could elicit such powerful responses of feeling and thought. He wondered at how color, shape and form draw from some cavernous, primal depth within our souls. He thought about music, then dance, then poetry. In a seemingly timeless eon that stretched forward infinitely, Declan drank deep from the well of collective, accumulated human emotion and intellect. When he was drunk on the bliss and sorrow of human consciousness, he slammed into the next moment, and exploded into a thousand pieces. In the next one-thirty-third of a second there was a sound like a bullfrog singing an aria. Then silence.

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