Q. What are you doing here?
Q. About what?
A. About what to do next.
Q. What are your options?
A. Well, I can start working on one of two stories due Friday, I can continue working on my new musical, or I can do neither of the above.
Q. What will happen if you do neither of the above?
A. I’ll probably flop down on the floor from exhaustion.
Q. Have you been working too hard lately?
A. You might say so.
A. Because everybody else says so.
Q. I meant, why you have been working so hard?
A. Because I’ve been hurt.
Q. What is the relationship between your working hard and your having been hurt?
A. When I’m hurt, I don’t like to experience the super-painful feelings. So I dive into a creative project of some kind. Something so engaging that it takes my mind off the hurt.
Q. Isn’t that unhealthy?
A. Why would it be unhealthy?
Q. Aren’t you supposed to face the hurt directly? Walk through the pain? Experience it fully until it has been processed?
A. Why would I be supposed to do that?
Q. Wouldn’t you be in denial if you don’t?
A. Denial of what?
Q. Denial of your feelings?
A. I don’t think so. I already know how horribly painful the feelings are. That’s the reason why I turn my attention away from them in the first place.
Q. In other words, your creative work is your painkiller?
A. You could put it that way, yes.
Q. How long have you been doing this?
A. I believe I was seven years old when I began to do this.
Q. What happened when you were seven?
A. Somebody hurt me. And that same year, I learned how to play the piano, write music, write stories, and draw pictures.
Q. Who hurt you?
Q. How could God have hurt you?
A. He hurt me in the sense that He created death. Before I found out about death, I assumed I was going to live forever, in a very happy place, with a loving family. Naturally, when I learned this was not the case, I was shattered. And not only on my own behalf. I was shattered on behalf of the entire human race.
Q. Would it be better if we all lived forever?
Q. But won’t we all live forever anyway? I mean, in heaven?
A. We’d certainly like to think so. But apparently that statement has been the theme of much debate.
Q. Would you like to engage in such a debate at this time?
A. No, I would not.
Q. What would you like to do at this time?
A. To be honest, my heart is hugely into this new musical of mine. When I was super-hurt yesterday, I sat down and cranked out five songs for the first scene — songs I’d already written (music only, no lyrics) and saw in a very short time how they could form the exposition and a good part of the development of an engaging new story line. And I’m psyched! This really could be the best of all the musicals, if I hunker down.
Q. How many musicals have you written?
Q. How many have been produced?
Q. Why only one?
A. Because the process of trying to produce a musical is tedious, cumbersome, arduous, uncertain, stressful, frustrating, maddening, and painful.
Q. And you don’t like to face those feelings?
A. You know I don’t.
Q. So what do you do instead?
A. Usually, I write another musical. But not immediately. I have to let the last musical set for a while.
Q. What do you do in the meantime? I mean, if you get hurt?
A. Depending on the level of the hurt, I either write a poem, an essay, or a song. Unless the hurt is really really huge.
Q. What happens when the hurt is really really huge?
A. I jump the gun and dive into the next musical. It’s the way I roll. When my mom died, I wrote a musical. When my wife left me years ago, I wrote a musical.
Q. And you’ve started yet another musical? A sixth? And you knocked out the first Scene with five songs in one morning?
Q. How hurt must you have been to do something so huge!?
A. It’s not really important how hurt I was, or who hurt me, or why. The important thing is that I’m tired.
A. Tired and weary.
Q. Tired of what?
A, Please move on to the next question.
Q. So what is this new musical going to be about?
A. The original hurt.
Q. You mean, when you were seven?
A. No. Even more original. I’m talking about what happened in the Garden.
Q. You mean, Eden?
A. Eden. The Garden that we’re all unconsciously trying to return to.
The Questioner is silent.
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