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The Archeologist In Search Of A Story

Updated on July 16, 2013
He sat puzzled over the direction his work would proceed.
He sat puzzled over the direction his work would proceed. | Source

He woke, ideas fresh on his mind. Rising from his location of slumber he wandered into the kitchen intent upon having his first cup of coffee of many on this day. His family was gone for the weekend, away visiting relatives somewhere. He is alone, and he intends to work.

Picking up the freshly brewed cup of caffeine, he made his way into his study to begin. Setting the cup down on a doily he reached over to open the drapes in order to allow the sunshine in and his gaze out. He pulled his chair away from his desk and seated himself comfortably into the cracked leather of the old desk chair. For a moment he remembered where he found it: lost in a yard sale years ago. Dirty, leather cracking even then it nonetheless was exactly what he wanted. It was a chair destined for a burgeoning writer like himself. Settling in he reached over and flipped on the power strip which controled his computer, printer, and various other electronic devices on the desk. Sliding his hand across the smooth grained wood of the desk he recalled when he built this monstrosity of a desk. Long before he found the chair, he dreamed of becoming a writer. Any writer worth his salt required a desk suitable for the words which would move mountains and inspire people long after his demise so he set out to design and build just such a desk.

Constructed over a winter years before, it was made of oak and maple, with some walnut inlay for good measure. Over the intervening years it had seen the components on its top move from anachronistic to modern. The age old typewriter had set alongside stacks of paper, and a goodly supply of correction fluid laid hidden within the drawers. These had given way to the modern era of computers, and from the old black screened with green letters monitor to the current flat screened laptops and such. The printer still set on top, reams of paper near at hand for those times when a printout was required.

Settling in, he allowed the ideas to tumble about in his mind, like a bingo cage tumbling the numbered balls about. When an idea fell out he scooped it up and began to work. Today he would write a new story rather than work on one of the many he had previously begun. His was a mind which always seemed to have new ideas and he was forever beginning stories only to allow them to fall by the wayside as the next new idea formed. He resisted looking at the stories he had already started; there were simply more than he cared to think about. Stories of time travel and times past; of villains and heroes and such. Of things he'd known and experienced and of things he wished he could have known. Some were quite good, others not so much. All were a part of him, and while he knew he should work on a story already in the works he chose, yet again, to begin fresh.

Carefully he placed the first words onto the screen. The title was important to him as he saw it to be the manner in which he could draw others to his works. The title must snare the potential reader and trigger an interest in the work. Once the title was chosen he set out his tools and began.

The tools he spoke of are a keen intellect, a vivid imagination, and of course words. He set his imagination to work uncovering the text hidden within his mind. He rarely made a conscious decision to place words onto the keyboard; rather he worked at the story as he imagined an archeologist worked: carefully, uncovering one phrase, one word, one letter at a time. He allowed the storyline to excite him, to pull him ever on in search of the conclusion which he may or may not ever reach. He tugged here, scraped there all the time uncovering the concept and laying bare the bones of the story.

After a while, he sat back and examined his work thus far. Moving the cursor here and there he corrected spelling errors and grammatical mistakes as he read what he had exhumed while he created. He never used the program Autocheck for he prided himself on his ability to realize correct spelling when he saw it, and to correct incorrect spelling. He would use it for some grammatical corrections as he was not the best at punctuation. After a few moments he shifted in his seat and began to flesh out the story with subtle touches here and there.

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His story today was one of time travel, but in a most unusual manner. He decided he would create an inter-dimensional hit man of sorts; one who was alive at any given moment in time. He walked the earth constantly searching for injustices, for possible harms yet to unfold. Once he detected such a situation he would maneuver both forward and back in time in order to determine whether or not this particular instance provided more harm than good to the surrounding players. It he decided it allowed more to profit by it for humanities sake he allowed it to continue. There were times where he had to stand by and watch as hundreds and even thousands perished or were scarred forever in the moment. He had lost the humanity to feel compassion for those who were harmed in this manner. The good of the many outweighed the good of the few even when the few numbered so high. The overall good was what was at stake.

If, however, he determined that the cost of humanity was too high he had the choice to eliminate it in the here and now or travel back to an earlier period and see if it would be better to cause this person to disappear there. There were cautions to be concerned with in this manner. Was this person a parent? Did they knowingly or unknowingly create a life which would do great good later on? Or perhaps, if not them then perhaps one of their progeny at some distant point in the future? It was an ever reaching river fed by a seemingly unlimited amount supply of tributaries, and as such was something he rarely did. In the moment was usually good enough. If he traveled too far back he ran the risk of effecting others by the elimination of but a single entity.

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The man nodded his head as he read, enjoying the storyline. It was fresh, new, and allowed him to expand in an almost unlimited amount of directions. He settled back to the keyboard, continuing to uncover the past, present, and future of his character.

After some hours of dedicated work he decided it was time for a break. He stood up, knees creaking and complaining at his long hours of being in a single position and made his way to the kitchen. Finding the makings of a sandwich he poured a glass of milk and made his way back into his study. He settled in on the worn sofa which looked just as ancient as the desk chair but which was infinitely more comfortable. He set the glass down on a side table and the sandwich on his stomach. He picked up a book to read in order to re-direct his mind for the coming battle of continuance. The book, "On Writing" by Stephen King was one of his favorites. King told of his secrets in creating his many and varied works, and of his life before, during, and after some of his greatest creations. It never failed to center the man and allowed him to create works of art for himself. That most of them failed to be completed or viewed by the world at large mattered not. It was the moment of discovery, of creation that mattered the most to him.

After the lunch and a bit of reading he repositioned himself on the sofa and drifted off to sleep. Perhaps when he awoke he would finish his story this time, or at least continue on with it for the day. His track record was not too good in this as he more often than not woke with yet another great idea and began work on it. As his eyes closed he began to think about another idea, one that would take him to another culture and another time. Back to the Mayans and the possibility of them traveling north and east to the middle of the country. A smile played upon his lips as he allowed sleep to over take him.


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    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      4 years ago from Missouri

      shanmarie it can be frustrating can't it? I try, but cannot finish one before beginning another. Oh well, there's always old(er) age to finish them! Thanks for stopping by and blessings to you on this fine Friday!

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      4 years ago from Texas

      I can totally relate to this. I do it often. I start something only to lay it aside because of another idea or other circumstances and then start work on something else instead of finishing in any timely fashion, if at all.

    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      5 years ago from Missouri

      Marie, I have not seen The Next Big Writer. As for why I chose the title, actually the title chose me. A dear friend who was a scholar at a major universtity in England at one point led me to this title, explaining it as I have done here. It is a metaphor for "discovering" a story; allowing ourselves to uncover the story as we go along rather than forcing the story into a corner by demanding it go the way we want. I love the thought of creating a story one word, one line, one paragraph at a time, never knowing what is coming next.

      I apologize for my shortcomings regarding comma/semicolon usage. While I may not need them, I enjoy their usage and the fact that they allow me to give pause when and where I feel it is required. I write from the heart, and my head does not always find its way to the paper.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my work.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      5 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      This is a nice vignette about your writing process. Have you ever checked out The Next Big Writer online? The site has some pretty good fiction writers and a $5,000 prize is offered for the best writer. My account is fairly inactive there, but I did do a short review this morning on a poem.

      I don't know why you chose the term "archeologist" for the title. I actually anticipated a piece about an historical dig.

      You're still having a few issues with commas. And, I recommend refraining from the use of colons and semi-colons in creative writing. You don't need them!

      I like the way you take the time to develop details. Nice.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      5 years ago from London

      Nice story about the process of writing! Enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      5 years ago from Missouri

      Sorry Cheyenne!!! No harm intended for sure!!!

      Enlydia Listener, glad you ejoyed this. I too love King's book and when I showed it to my daughter (college senior destined to teach creative writing at a university level soon) she refused to return my copy! I had to go and buy another one for me. I set out to write about having writer's block and ended up with this. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Take care and many blessings to you.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      5 years ago from trailer in the country

      I appreciated is a snapshot of the writer...Stephen King's book, On Writing was one of my I liked seeing it mentioned.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Call me ma'am again and I'll have to come up there with a swarm of Florida's mosquitoes! :-). Another thing you might want to try in order to earn more pennies is to bring in the Amazon capsules. Look for things that pertain to writing, etc. Every little bit helps!

    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      5 years ago from Missouri

      Thanks Cheyenne. Yeah, gotta keep those pesky messages from those guys away. Bad things happen when they send 'em to ya: bad things!!!

      Take care Ma'am and stay safe.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Interesting take on the writing process, Mike. I always try to finish one article, poem or story before beginning another. In the case of stories, it may take days or weeks to tie my thoughts together, but I try not to have too many egss in the basket at one time.

      Glad to see you're taking advantage of the various capsules available to us. That should help you avoid messages from the QAP staff.

    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      5 years ago from Missouri

      Thanks Bill. Just how I feel when I am writing: too many ideas floating around in this sieve I call a mind and not enough sticktoitiveness to finish one at a time so I find myself getting overwhelmed and taking a step back. Someday, I'll finish one of them and put it out there. Take care my good friend. Blessings returned to you and Bev. Say hi to her for me and enjoy some time in your garden, ok?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You tell a good story, Mike! This one should appeal to most writers, and I especially love the ending with a smile on his face as he drifts off to sleep...I think most of us understand that feeling.

      Well done buddy!




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