The blank sheets of paper appeared as he turned the page, like fresh dew in the morning, beckoning: Fill me up with thought, with hope and promise, with adventure, with everything you need to say this morning.
Just then something made the desktop computer emerge from its sleep. The screen was glowing – he could see the light against the wall even though he sat in the chair behind the screen, facing the front of the desk. A fan whirred somewhere inside the electronic beast.
“Come over here, enough of this scratching and scribbling,” it seemed to whisper. “Do you know what happened in the world while you were sleeping? Don’t you want to get to communicating with the rest of the world? There are puppy videos and kitten pictures to absorb your mind. Come here,” whispered the computer, “come here and see the world as it really is.”
The whir of the fan almost drowned out the song of the birds outside the window as they woke to greet the sun. He could almost make out their message:
“Good morning!” he thought he heard the birds call to their friends. “There is food out here and warmth to be had, and beware the predators who would have you for lunch and not think twice, and remember to soar over the trees and get a glimpse of the big picture, and do what you need to do before the sun rises too high and it’s too hot to enjoy the exertion. But enjoy the exertion anyway.”
(I confess I don’t know if that’s what the birds actually sang to each other. It’s entirely possible that it was something more primitive, like, “Hey y’all, this is my territory and you are NOT foraging here today.”)
The computer whirred impatiently: “What was the point of all that scribbling? Did what you just wrote add anything of value to the world? Enough of this self-aggrandizement and pompous pontificating. Come over here and be mesmerized like a good little boy. Today I have a world crisis to frighten you, and an incurable disease that may kill you someday, and weather patterns that ought to alarm anyone, and a thousand other reasons why you are helpless and insignificant and unimportant.”
He took a long draught that drained his coffee cup and smiled contentedly.
“Yes,” he replied, “and I have two pages that were blank a few minutes ago and now are filled with my musings. You were helpless to stop me, weren’t you? It seems I am in control of my own life after all. Now, let’s see those kittens.”