Monday, July 17, 2023

It’s Writer’s Block Week! • by Bruce Bethke

This week we hand the SHOWCASE microphone over to Pete Wood, to present the results of another Pete Wood Challenge. Normally participation in The Pete Wood Challenge is restricted to members of the CODEX online writing group, but this time Pete decided to extend the invitation to participate to the members of the Stupefying Stories Secret Inner Circle as well. His challenge was to write a 125-word flash fiction piece inspired by the words, “writer’s block,” whatever you might interpret them to mean.

Unfortunately Pete interrupted me with this idea while I was in the midst of doing a very important crossword puzzle, so instead of a flash fiction story all I was able to give him was yet another rejection letter.


Dear Mr. Wood,

Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, there is a medical treatment for the condition commonly known as "Writer's Block," but I would advise against pursuing it. The treatment is a rarely performed neurosurgical operation called the "Faulkner Procedure," but it has potentially deadly side effects. In a small but significant percentage of patients the procedure at first appears to be successful, but then the patient develops "Joyce Syndrome," which is, tragically, irreversible. After that the only humane option remaining is euthanasia. Unfortunately your stated limit of 125 words is far too short to capture the full horror of seeing someone who was once an intelligent and articulate human being reduced to babbling idiocy by the onset of Joyce Syndrome.

Dr. Bruce Bethke
Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN   




If you thought that was was bad, just wait. It gets worse.


Karin Terebessy said...

Hahaha! Phew...that was awesome...

Pete Wood said...

It took me a surprisingly long time to crank out this comment, but the words finally came to me.
Nice job!

CED said...

If you die from Joyce Syndrome, do you get a Finnegan's Wake?

~brb said...

@CED - Can you possibly avoid it?