The Story That Wouldn't Be
This story does not exist. Don't laugh, it's true! Alright, fine, do laugh; it makes no difference. I'm the one who didn't write this story so I ought to be the one that knows. And just so you know too, I'll tell you how this story didn't come to be. Then you'll have no choice but to agree that this is, undoubtedly, anything but a story.
It all started with a gobbler. I was stomping along through snowy Meridell with a number of my friends when we heard loud squawking coming from the side of the road. Being curious as passers-by always are, we stopped to look and saw a gobbler tearing at a feather pillow with decisive determination. Perhaps it supposed the feathers inside had once belonged to some ill-fated brethren. Whatever the case, there was soon a large cloud of fluff and feathers swirling across the road and a Gelert attempting to get his pillow – and his gobbler – back, though he was really only making things worse.
This struck us all as being terribly hilarious and while we all burst into fits of laughter one of my friends was moved to break into sing-song rhymes:
"We saw the feathers over there, flying up into the air. All of us stopped to stare, and now we've got fluff sticking everywhere!"
The talk started flying faster than the feathers.
"Hey, that's pretty good!"
"You should keep going, see how much you can continue that!"
"Have you ever thought of entering the poetry contest?"
And, in my opinion, the conversation went downhill from there. I stood to the side, plucking feathers and bits of white fluff from my coat, rather saddened by the fact that not one of my friends noticed how excluded I was from their line of conversation. It wasn't that I couldn't have joined in; I suppose I could have if I'd wished to. But I simply had nothing to add. Unlike all of my friends I'd never once entered the poetry contest, or the story telling contest, or the Neopian Times. I guess writing just isn't my thing.
But as I listened to them, excitedly swapping stories of past successes and current ideas, I began to wonder if I couldn't try to write something too. After all, if all of them could do it, why couldn't I?
I figured it wouldn't have to be anything great or elaborate. Surely I could write something simple but nice enough to be accepted somewhere, thus elevating me to the status of trophied author.
Now, hold on, I see that look on your face. How could you be reading this if it isn't a story? Let me assure you, it still isn't. I can't write stories. Believe me, I really can't. I know that now. Oh, it's not like I didn't try, I tried like crazy. You wouldn't believe some of the things I tried.
Like standing on my head, for instance. Someone had told me once that standing on his head helped him when he got writer's block. I had already come to the conclusion that I'd been born into a state of writer's block, so I figured I'd best stand on my head before I even started trying to come up with ideas.
Let me assure you, standing on one's head is not easy. I've seen people who make it look like a cinch and, foolishly assuming it would be just as easy for me, I put my head on the floor and tried to lift my legs above me. After somersaulting forward and landing flat on my back, I began to rethink my strategy.
First I tried standing on my head using a wall to prop myself up. Only every time I managed to get myself upside down, my feet would slide down the smooth wall and I'd end up flopped on my side. So then I tried using a chair to prop myself up. Let's just say that resulted in severe bruising for both myself and the chair. Eventually it struck me as being incredibly stupid to devote so much energy (and health) to standing on my head when my real goal was writing a story. And so, nursing my injuries, I abandoned that endeavour.
The best approach, I figured, had to be the straightforward one. I grabbed some blank paper, two sharpened pencils, and sat down at my desk. I took one pencil in hand, stuck my tongue out in the most thoughtful expression I could muster, and placed the pencil to the page. I think I held that same position for nearly three hours.
It's amazing how fascinating a blank piece of paper can become when you've got absolutely nothing to put on it. I kept waiting for some brilliant flash of inspiration, or at least a first sentence. I'd have even taken just one word. Instead I sat and stared into the very depths of the white paper until I got up, walked away, and sobbed.
The trick, I decided, had to be in finding inspiration rather than in overcoming writer's block, since in my case that seemed out of the question.
But where does one find inspiration? People often talk of forests or waterfalls or flowers... but it just so happens to be the middle of winter when forest vanish under white blankets of snow, waterfalls freeze solid and flowers, well, forget flowers. The Lost Desert is a place strangely unaffected by Neopian winters, but even I could figure out that a lot of sand probably wasn't going to inspire anything brilliant.
So I decided on a trip to Faerieland. The flowers there bloom all year long, the trees stay lush and green and, reportedly, their waterfalls and lakes never freeze over. I packed up my notebook and a few pens and set off.
Faerieland is unchallengeably one of the loveliest places in Neopia. To be honest, I think falling into the crater only enhanced its beauty. It looks vibrant, alive, colourful... and yet somehow manages to keep its air of serene simplicity which one expects to find in the home of the faeries.
I thought about just walking through, writing down everything I saw. But what sort of story is that? Even I know a story has to have a plot, a challenge of some sort. There is no challenge or plot in sightseeing. Though, if worst came to worst, I figured I could take up writing tour brochures.
I wandered around, waiting to be inspired.
My wanderings led me to the Rainbow Fountain. It's hard not to be drawn there, what Neopian doesn't dream of dipping into those rich, swirling waters? I sat on a rock near the edge of the water and listed to Naia as she sang some sweet song. Perhaps, I thought to myself, I could write a story about her and her Fountain. There was only one problem.
My story would be devoid of necessary description if I could not say how the waters of the Rainbow Fountain felt. I eyed the water, mere feet away. Then I eyed Naia. She was watching me. I figured getting into the waters without her noticing would be highly improbable, and along with being creatively challenged I also suffer from a severe lack of luck. There was no way Naia was going to invite me into her magical waters any time soon.
However, there was a little Usul whom seemed to have Naia's full approval as she stepped down into the waters. A lovely blue colour swept up her fur and engulfed her with a splash. When she stepped back out, she was drenched through and through but seemed wholly delighted with her new water colour.
"Excuse me!" I cried, chasing after her. "Excuse me, can you tell me what the waters feel like?"
The water Usul spared barely a moment to look at me like I'd completely lost my mind before swishing off with a dreamy expression. The other pets coming out of the fountain bore similar looks on their newly painted faces. I could tell none of them would want to stop and tell me what the experience had been like.
That left me with one choice: sneaking into the Rainbow Fountain without Naia's noticing. Not exactly the easiest task anyone has ever taken upon themselves.
I figured I'd start by finding a good out-of-the-way spot to approach the pool from. Coming at it from behind one of the waterfalls seemed like a smart idea. Next I needed something to distract Naia.
This came surprisingly easily and in a very unexpected form. The golden Pteri flew overhead and rained down neopoints over a Pteri who was just stepping into the water to get his new zombie colour. The Pteri's owner promptly dived in after him to retrieve the sinking neopoints. This did not sit well with the Rainbow Fountain Faerie, who started trying to order the owner out. However, the nearby pets found the whole thing quite amusing and gathered around to laugh and giggle at the embarrassed Pteri and his owner.
I took that as my cue to go ahead and sneak a feel of the magical waters. I crept up from behind one of the waterfalls. I leaned forward and stretched out my hand, reaching for the water. I slipped on some damp moss and fell in. Naia loved that.
By the time I got home, I thought I had a great story full of humour and plot that would get into the Neopian Times with no trouble at all. But having a story in your head turns out to be a whole lot different than putting it on paper. After a few more hours of staring at my blank paper, contemplating the meaning of whiteness, I threw my pencil across the room in frustration.
You're saying to yourself that everything I've just told you would make a great story, and you're right. But telling it and turning it into a story are not the same at all. I can tell it alright. But make a story out of it? That I simply can't do. I did make one final attempt at story writing, though.
Maybe if I couldn't write the story, I could find someone else to do it for me. I'd heard the tales of white weewoos, of course. Everyone knows that they're really responsible for running the Neopian Times. It is said using one of their feathers for a quill could make any story come out right. I knew of more than one friend (all successful writers) who kept at least one weewoo around, white or otherwise.
So either I went and got myself a weewoo quill pen to see if that could make my story work out, or I went and got myself a weewoo to write it for me. I decided to do both.
I raided my bank account, lugged my neopoints off to the trading post, and offered them on the first weewoo I saw. It was a little brown thing and I named it Greg. Don't laugh, I've already told you that I suffer from a severe lack of imagination, creativity and basically any originality whatsoever.
I took Greg home and sat him down on my table beside my pens and blank paper. "Okay, Greg," I said, running my hands together. "Time to write a story!"
Greg blinked his beady eyes and tilted his head to the side.
"Well, go on, pick up the pen. I'll tell you what to write."
Greg tilted his head to the other side and came back with a quiet, "Weeeewoooo."
"Like this," I said, picking up a pen and scrawling some lines across one of the pages. Greg watched me thoughtfully and then picked the other pen up in his beak. Hopping around the paper, he dragged my pen back and forth at crazy angles to create a truly unique – if not bizarre – piece of art.
"That's not a story!"
Greg dropped the pencil and tilted his head to the side again, watching me with those blinking little eyes of his.
So, obviously, getting a weewoo to write my story was going nowhere. I would just have to take a feather and use that to make a quill instead. "Alright, hold still now." I reached towards Greg's long, slender tail feathers, trying to look casual about it.
Greg narrowed his eyes at my hand and, just before I could grab a feather, darted off the table and onto the floor. "Weeeewoo! Weeeewoo!" he cried, running under the table where he hunkered down and looked up at me reproachfully.
"Oh come on!" I cried, glaring down at him just as reproachfully. "I paid a lot for you, the least you can do is let me have one feather!" I dived for him. He squawked and raced off. During the ensuing chase we ploughed through the whole house, mowing down three lamps and a clock, shattering countless dishes, toppling the majority of my furniture and shredding one innocent curtain.
I never got my feather. I finally gave up the chase when I found myself lying face down on my kitchen floor, panting for air. The only thing in my house that wasn't a disaster was my kitchen table where the white sheets of blank paper still lay untouched. With the last of my strength I climbed to my knees, grabbed the paper, and tore it into confetti.
I still own Greg. He's permanently fixed himself to my cookie jar where he awaits my weekly baking day. We get along just fine. I don't try for his feathers anymore. Believe me, I don't want them.
I don't want to write either. It's not worth it, not at all. I can't write. I've accepted that fact now. I can't and I never will. It just isn't me. Stories have a mind of their own and for some people they open right up. Others, I believe, they hold grudges against and try to sabotage. Well, my story was out to get me and no matter what I did, it just wasn't meant to be.
And now you know what I went through trying, and failing, to write this story. I think you have to agree that this is not a story. It can't be. Can you imagine what I might have gone through if it was?