The International Writers Magazine:
Around The Block Again: The Further Adventures Of Guy Block

Writer’s Block
Mark Cunliffe

uy Block yawned and stretched in his chair as he stared out at the morning sun that dappled in through his study window.

It was a Monday and Guy Block was bored.
Like The Boomtown Rats Guy hated Mondays
And Tuesdays
And Wednesdays

Unlike that song however, Guy had no desire to run amok with a gun and slay a few pupils and staff
Well there are times when….

No he is just bored.
Bored and unhappy.

With an immense feeling that he had wasted his life.

A hesitant cough came at him from across the desk. Gathering his thoughts, Guy adopted his professional lecturer persona somewhat reluctantly, this in turn meant taking out his headphones and terminating his listening of Manfred Mann’s Handbags and Gladrags.

He was still there
Stimpson the student
Block’s student, and this was his tutorial
A tutorial that has been spent ignoring the little idiot and hoping he’d take the hint and go away.
He hasn’t
And now he’s going to ask a question

Why do they ask me questions, Guy thought
Because I teach them, or am supposed to

"Well what did you think?" Block’s student said shyly.
"Well I was thinking of buying an Ipod"
Ipod, good technology, Guy was sure, but they sound horrid.
Like some kind of optical complaint.
Clearly Guy’s answer was not correct.
Shouldn’t he have the right answers and Stimpson the wrong?
Oh well, second attempt. Come on Block
"About your work?"
"Yes, my work" he answered keenly
"You desire an opinion?"
"Um…yes please Professor Block"
Guy Block let out a sigh that caused his in-tray to scatter.
The student held his course work tightly, unsure of what to do next. "Pardon me, but…"
"Spit it out man! My word, I am teaching you English, I’d expect some use of our language!"

"Well, you don’t seem especially keen?" He said nervously.
"My dear boy…of course I’m not! I mean I decided to teach so that I may spend more time reading the classics, well twenty five years later on, I’ve realised that all I do is read other people’s interpretations of the classics! And often bad ones at that!"
"You think my work is bad?" he asked a little hurt

How could he? He wasn’t listening
Wasn’t the headphones a clue?

"No, not yours, everyone’s"
"Is something troubling you?" said Stimpson

Something troubling Guy Block?
Now there’s a novelty.
And sadly there is no novel ideas, which is the trouble

The Dean was rapidly running out of deadlines for Guy’s speech at end of term, another study of modern academia, he explained.
And one he hadn’t even started to write yet.
Block was bored
Bored and unhappy et-depressing-cetara

"Tell me, you’re an English student. What do you make of these terms? Malaise? Depression? And Losing, and The, and Will, and To live?"
"I’m sorry?"
"Oh don’t be. No sense two of us committing suicide. Good Lord, they’d think it a pact born out of some kind of homosexual tragic love. Dear me no, that won’t do"

The student flushed and licking his lips tried to speak and catch up with Block’s mental process simultaneously.
Not a good idea.
Best just to let him carry on, to lecture you through it.

Have you ever heard of the difficult second album?
Block is suffering with it badly.

"You see it took me twelve years to write my first book. And now the buggers want a speech from me! And I don’t know where to start or what to write about. I wish I did. Why did I even go into teaching? I hated being a student!"

"You always tell us to write about what you know and feel?" Stimpson offered.
And suddenly Guy saw him in a new light, a student who actually had an answer
And a lecturer who could learn something

"I do? Yes I do! That’s it! I’ll write about what it is like to struggle through with academic impasse"
Writers Block indeed
"Everyone knows how it takes years and years for a definitive book, we all suffer with it and the delays of writing such masterpieces because we have to teach you lot!"

And so on that Monday tutorial, Stimpson the student taught Guy Block what to write for his speech. He learned again what it was to be an academic

Stimpson the student however, will be taught and expected to learn from that very speech when it and Guy well be well received at the end of term.

The teaching cycle continues…

© Mark Cunliffe July 2006

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