The Creative Abyss

I spent my twenties, which seems like youth to me now, working as an unpolished clerical worker for a paper merchants. In those days they tried to define your job in terms of its function and status and “clerk” seemed correct to them and the inescapable truth to me. Nowadays, no doubt, I would be called a “Success Liaison Consultant,” or some other rubbish, but we hadn’t fully discovered the selling power of self-importance in that unpolished era.

Through lack of money, connections or social presence, my life was pretty much free of  intercourse with females, though once my head lay on the pillow it filled immediately with dreams of sweet romance; and girls who identified with me as if we had a secret pact: I never played the hero, even in my dreams.  My musings were not strictly carnal but more to do with recognition, tenderness and coming home; a place with which I had little familiarity.

In the evening , sometimes and for no reason, I would attend a  “Creative writing course” at the local college as a way of marking myself out as someone who sought for self-improvement. There I met Maurice Le Garde, not his original name I’m sure, who eked out a living teaching ‘creative writing’ on the back of a couple of undiscovered novels. On account of his being a lecturer and a writer of sorts, he had a kind of “allure.” “mystique,” or whatever you might call it, and he was at that perfect age for creative girls, it seemed to me: somewhere in his early-forties where he could impress as the spiritually well-travelled older man but still with enough stamina to follow through on his promise, and yet not too old to unsettle, or too young and gauche to disturb that subtle beautiful women with presence and sensibility who was my obsession. No names because I will admit none, but in my day-dream I could describe her to the final hair.

He talked a lot about “defining the moment” and could look towards the window and say, in his slow drawl with a hint of foreign accent, “Life is just a moment, and the colour of it changes with our understanding and experience” and then he would turn from the window and look towards us, or more particularly Helen who was an artistic truth-seeker in her early twenties. She had played a guest role in my dreams, I admit, but there was a sense that she played a larger role in the ennobling life of  Maurice Le Garde.

On those grounds alone I developed an anger towards him which I lacked the character to express until one day, when he was going on about “Moments” and “Inner sensibility” I said, “What do you think about social progress and responsibility. That is more than a ‘moment’ surely?” I noticed with inner satisfaction that Helen turned to look at me, and I had drifted towards becoming a “Person of note” in this class at least.

As I began to celebrate this brief elevation, that disturbing sub-foreign accent cut across my thoughts saying, “After dark, when your thoughts are free of inspection, there is no social responsibility.” and Helen moved her gaze from me back to our noble teacher. It was the nearest I got to gaining her attention, and the last time I attended his class


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in Fiction, Life, Love, Peter Wells, Romance, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to The Creative Abyss

  1. Ode to the snob whose “art” draws the last human breath from the “moment.” A pound of thought in but a few ounces of words, well done, my friend.


  2. catterel says:

    Brilliant – again!


  3. Al says:

    Seems to me your brief “moment” with Helen was worth all the long, excruciating moments with Maurice. But then that’s just me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, well, at least there was a ‘moment’! A satisfying take on artistic snobbery, Peter, which, it would appear, exists in all walks of life.
    A well crafted short.


  5. Probably should have punched him…


  6. Scarlet says:

    The selling power of self-importance, Oh how I sniggered when I read this… and then I jotted in down in my notebook in the hope that I might be able to use it in the future as a stinging insult 🙂


  7. Simply excellent! As always. I can see so much of your writing as material for TV dramas with as much emphasis on what is unsaid – therefore with much body language – as what is said.


  8. Seriously, he needs a cocktail thrown in his face lol. I mean seriously lol. Loves reading this


  9. gotham girl says:

    So good…so very good…


  10. renxkyoko says:

    Excellent reading, as expected. is that a true story, Peter ?


    • I’m glad to say it’s not a true story. Lucky really as the guy in question doesn’t seem to have that many fans according to the comments on the posts. We’ve had everything from insults to physical violence suggested, although I’m happier with the custard crème on the shirt idea.


  11. Janni Styles says:

    Love the way you weave your words, always such a good read here on your pages. Thank you ❤


  12. olganm says:

    Beautifully observed vignette. If Helen fell for him I have to wonder if she deserved your attention, but you were both young…


  13. shericonaway says:

    Cynical, but artfully so, and thought provoking.


  14. ksbeth says:

    i loved the way you sketched out your interesting characters in this one )


  15. ***“Life is just a moment, and the colour of it changes with our understanding and experience***

    such insight and wisdom!!))) xxxxx


  16. judithhb says:

    Once again your fiction reads like a true story. And haven’t we all met those Maurices in our life.


  17. Maurice reminds me of every struggling, part time, insecure teacher eager to have the last word. Ah, the challenge of balancing social responsibility with academic pursuits.


  18. Pingback: Best Fiction and Writing Blogs | M.C. Tuggle, Writer

  19. oceans2c says:



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