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Essence

By C.L. Holland
Mar 25, 2020 · 487 words · 2 minutes

Photo by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash.

From the author: A meta piece about writing.


Kevin has logged into the chatroom.

Neil: So instead he burned the manuscript.

Emma: Hi Kevin.

Kevin: Hi all. You won’t believe the morning I’ve had—been trying to write since breakfast!

Neil: Trying to finish the Dreaded Sequel?

Kevin: Still. It’s true what they say about second novels. Although I’d settle for a haiku right now.

Emma: What’s gone wrong?

Kevin: BRB.

Kevin: Spam phone call. It’s off the hook now.

Kevin: What hasn’t? Smoke alarm went off as soon as I sat down—dear daughter was doing her best to burn water. Then mum phoned, and as soon as I finished with her some cold caller knocked at the door despite the sign.

Emma: So Frank burned his manuscript?

Neil: I think he was drunk. He kept going on about Kafka and essence or something.

Emma: Oh, right. He probably meant those new Essence Tablets. Essence of Byron, Essence of Kafka, that sort of thing. They’re supposed to give you insight into the minds of geniuses.

Kevin: BRB

Neil: I think I saw those on Twitter. Have you tried any?

Emma: No, my sister went to a Regency ball last month, had a terrible time. Everyone was on Essence of Austen. Mother kept trying to marry her off.

Neil: So what happened with your sister? Did she find a suitable husband?

Emma: Hardly. Apparently being a yoga instructor isn’t a fitting accomplishment for a young woman.

Kevin: Sorry about that. Cat was sick.

Kevin: My wife bought me Essence of Coleridge for our anniversary. I took it last night, it doesn’t seem to have done anything.

Emma: Have you Googled the side effects?

Kevin: LOL no. If I do that I’ll end up convinced I’ve got all of them. Pharmacist said to avoid laudanum while taking(!)

Neil: Of course!

Kevin: BRB, someone at the door.

Neil: Sounds like he’s having a rough morning.

Emma: I’m not surprised.

Emma: “Common side effects include moments of inspired poetry and a sudden interest in philosophy…. Rare side effects include constant interruption, such as letters from a friend or unexpected visitors. Symptoms will end with discontinued use.”

Kevin has timed out of the chatroom.

Neil: Oh dear. Must have been a person from Porlock.

Emma: Anyway, time for lunch. See ya.

Neil: Bye.

Emma has left the chatroom.

Neil has left the chatroom.

This story originally appeared in Riddled With Arrows.


C.L. Holland

C.L. Holland writes fantasy and science fiction.