For one of THOSE kinds of days.

Apeksha Atal
4 min readDec 17, 2018

The cursor blinked rhythmically before my eyes. I had been watching it long enough that I had mentally composed a sort of tap-tap-tap number to it. In my head it played more like a drumbeat than a metronome, but like a deep drum. I don’t know enough about drums to tell you which drum in particular, but it wasn’t as delicate as a snare or as deep as the Taiko drums I had once gone to see on stage as a little girl in Portland, Oregon.

Those Taiko drums were huge. They boomed, bellowed, and held their ground as the drummers spun and danced between them. It was as if those playing them were the accessories to the real spectacle — as if the majesty of the drum itself was enough to captivate.

But no, this drumming sound was nothing like that. It was still deep, though, and the longer it went on, the more I wanted to slam my laptop shut and look at something else. Even with this drumbeat mocking me from within, I couldn’t look away. It was because, you see, I’d had an idea. I was laying in bed, staring at the ceiling after watching a movie. The movie had made me cry. A boy and a girl got together, but it was so much more than that. The story was about the girl and her growth, but it was nice that she got to start a relationship along the way too. Oh, I love movies where people end up happy together. I love movies that show me life as I want to see it — quirky and misguided, but destined to fall into place eventually.

After crying, and laughing to myself, the fan dried up my tears, leaving my cheeks lightly crusty. My brain had, in the thirty minutes I was motionless, swam to places that I couldn’t ask it to come back from. There was a young woman who had found her way back to her ancestral home and discovered a letter from an unknown man to her grandmother. Then, there was a little boy who was skipping rocks, and he decided to make it his lifelong mission to skip those rocks further than any rock skipper had done before. Soon after, there was a family living in a small village, whose daughter had found love in the girl next door — but no one would understand, until the story panned out in her favor, of course.

Each story brought me joy and made my mind race faster.

I often find myself in this creative rut. My mind cinematically sifts through ideas, both original and inspired, wanting to tell someone, desperate for a medium of expression. I then think of cinema, and who would play which character. I’d want to take over as a producer and consultant for the director, cinematographer, and editor, but nothing too invasive. Then I think of production costs, and recall that I’d need a screenplay before getting into anything further. I then realize I didn’t know how exactly to write a screenplay.

I then think of poetry — something short and sweet to capture the essence of my creativity through literary devices. But then I think about a middle school classroom; an eighth grader holding my poem, which had been put on page 126 of an anthology that they dreaded to comb through. I imaged this eighth grader reluctantly penciling in “A B A B” next to each of my carefully composed lines, and then drowning my words with a leaky, inky, and probably yellow highlighter.

I then think of a novel, with a hand-drawn cover, waiting to be picked up in an airport bookstore, or in the reading nook of a new coffee shop. The pages would start out smelling fresh, and over time collect wrinkles, creases, and smells from the fingers of eager reading that dared to leaf through. Some would lack the time or motivation to plow through, and maybe some would get bored. Some would make notes and underline lines they liked, and some would scoff and ridicule the scattered clichés. Maybe some would sleep with it under their pillows and use a cherished bookmark to hold their place. Maybe someone would even buy it for someone in a time of need, hoping to make them laugh, or cry.

At the end of this mental journey, I open up my laptop and pull up a blank document. Sometimes the words come immediately, but then my fingers stop after a page or two. Sometimes, I stare helplessly, knowing there was no way I could possibly type as fast as my mind was working.

Yesterday, was one of those days. I was staring. My mind was racing and blank at the same time. After a few minutes, every little detail of my room started catching my eye. The weird angle that my bag was hanging off of its hook, the water bottle that I’d bought months ago and never opened and washed, and — most annoyingly — a bag of KitKats that I’d bought to treat myself. There were three different flavors, all of which had seemed delightful at the time of purchase, but were now cruel, tempting reminders of my very persistent addiction to sugar.

Pondering the taste and nutritional value of KitKats was not how I envisioned spending a Sunday night of my early twenties, but that was where I was.



Apeksha Atal

Trying to make sense of the world, one word at a time