An unknown woman steps out of the shadows to approach the ominous podium.
“Hi, my name is Kelley, and I am a writing addict.”
“Hi, Kelley.” The members respond.
Her meek voice cracks as she grips the pedestal, and stares at her feet.
“I have come to the realization that writing has overtaken my life.”
“Even when I know that I am supposed to be doing something else, ideas will pop into my head. I am powerless to ignore them. Again and again I find myself back in front of the keyboard, drowning my thoughts.”
A knowing murmur arises from the crowd.
“My kids know what’s going on. Whenever they need me, they come to the office, and find me, sitting there, slumped over the keyboard, immersed and obsessed.”
Kelley clears her voice, and chokes back a tear.
“I see the sad disappointment on their faces. They know that mom is off on yet another binge.”
“I used to have a great relationship with my mother, and my friends. They would often call me on the phone, or drop by to chat. Now, they avoid me. They don’t like to spend time with me, when typing is all I ever have on my mind.”
Several audience members nod thoughtfully.
“My relationship with my husband has suffered too. We used to have so much going for us; but now, we just fight over the computer. He says that I am invading his space, and that my addiction is causing him problems at work.”
“One day, I emptied the bank account to buy a laptop. My husband was furious. We got into a fight, and I just lost it. I ran out of the house, and drove off into the night with my laptop. It was all that mattered. I…I…I started typing while I was driving. I know that I shouldn’t have, but I just couldn’t help it.
We hear it all the time… ‘Don’t write and Drive.’
It was crazy for me to do it, and I am lucky that no one was killed. I thought that I could handle it. You know, it wasn’t like I was going overboard, typing with both hands. I was just pecking at the keyboard with one finger… O.K, five fingers: But I kept the other one on the wheel!”
Kelley scans the crowd for sympathy, and then drops her head in shame.
“Things got blurry as I kept shifting my focus from the road to the monitor. The glow put me in a daze. I don’t remember much after that. I woke up in the hospital the next day.”
“You would think that this would be a wake up call, but no. I just wanted to get home and write all about it!”
“I knew that I had hit bottom when I started getting up in the middle of the night, to sneak into the office and write ‘just one more page.’ It’s hard to admit the truth, but, one page would often turn into an all night binge.”
“My family would see the dark circles under my eyes the next morning, and my breakfast discussions on philosophical topics were a dead give away. I couldn’t wait for the kids to go off to school, so that I could write even more.”
“I used to have a very steady hand, but now, if I am not drumming them on the keyboard, they tremor with “The Shakes.” I feel worthless, and I can’t concentrate on even simple tasks, unless I have ‘a belt o’ da- board’ to start my day.
Her shrill voice rises as she attempts a plea of understanding from the group.
“It clears my head. It relaxes me, and helps me get through the tough times. It helps me focus. It is how I express myself! It is who I am!”
A long silence follows. She sees the sadness in their eyes. They know the road that she is on.
“I see now, that I am a writing addict. I am powerless against it, and I need help.”
With that, she steps down from the stage, goes to her car, and types:
By Kelley Bell