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The Writer’s Block | Issue #4

The Writer’s Block Issue 4

The Writer’s Block | Issue #4

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Editor’s Note: The Thing About Typewriters

My friend recently bought a typewriter. Typewriters both terrify and astound me; I marvel at those who can master and tame the device... but stay far away. I believe that writing on a typewriter is different type of writing entirely, a different skill.

What scares me about typewriters is their permanence. With no erasing, every word that is typed remains on the page. No take backs. If you want to fix a letter, you must brave the whiteout or scrap the entire page; typewritten words work as a team, refusing to leave any soldier behind. Frighteningly, I have already used my backspace key over a dozen times in this paragraph. My writing is adjustable, fearless. I test words, swapping them around like pieces of a puzzle. I’ll take a step back, adjust, and then cut the whole sentence. The typewriter is not so lenient. Every thought is a risk, and every twitch must be carefully evaluated. Saddled with a typewriter, I would live a stressful life.

Still, the typewriter is a wondrous beast. The click of the keys punctuated with the longer clack of a line change... and the smell of fresh ink. It’s the stuff of dreams, and (see earlier paragraph) nightmares. You can get a lot written with no distractions, and the typewriter literally carries only a blank page. Perhaps this machine is an ode to living on the edge; allowing your purest ideas, with little intervention, to appear on the page. It seems sincere and genuine, to cede your immediate thoughts reign over your audience. All those monkeys on typewriters are brave and honest, if nothing else.

Our modern equivalent to the typewriter may be shorthand, where pen to page is, for the most part, permanent. Legible shorthand is slow – in my own scrawl at least – but still faster than a typewriter. I’d encourage you to do a bit of freehand writing. Dare to take a risk: put pen to paper and leave the eraser in your pencil case. Perhaps your immediate thoughts shine true. And in the meantime, if you find yourself in front of a typewriter, give it a go. I promise I’ll do the same.

Gratitude goes out to our lovely graphics, writing, and editing teams, Arman M., Nicholas V., and Tejah B. for their contributions to Constantine’s article, and, of course, Mr. Sylvester and Ms. Della Mora. There is a rocking line up of articles here to kick off the New Year; thank you for being such dedicated readers.


Emiko Wijeysundera


Want to contribute to The Writer’s Block? Write a Letter to the Editor, addressed to, to be included!


Between the Lines: January 2021

Anavi has been writing since she was a child and uses it as an outlet to de-stress. She hopes her last year will go out with a bang.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a great break and got some time to write. Now that exams are over, and the next semester has started, I’ve been feeling a lot like it’s another year entirely. With new classes and our return to what may very well be a permanently online school system, there’s a lot going on.

In this spirit, write something no longer than a page about a time of change in a character’s life, where they managed to stay grounded. It can be in any form that you want. The reason of change does not have to be realistic; be bold.

And a huge thank you to Christian Hayward for his compelling short story Sunburn in response to the November prompt. You can find this below, along with the prompt.

If you have ideas for prompts, questions about submissions or anything else, feel free to reach out to me, Anavi Parekh, through Teams or email at

The November prompt:
Finish the story- A girl walks into a convenience store and sees a man collapse. Try to experiment with different perspectives. One page maximum.

Sunburn - Written by Christian Hayward

Sweltering summer heat flows through the streets, molding to our faces. The sun is angry, attempting to push us down so much that we crawl. UV rays almost seem to be trapped in this cage of a city alongside us, as if baking in an oven. As a younger man, I was exposed to the sun many times, in fact, I could handle any weather. Back then, I was expected to, as long as I got the job done. The key thing to understand about the sun is that it does not matter how many people complain that it is too hot in Dubai, or that it is too cold in Yellowknife, the sun does its job regardless. That was me, years ago. But today, it is far too hot.

I am eighty-two, and I find myself walking over to our local convenience store alongside my granddaughter, my greatest love. She is twelve years old, smart, kind, my rock, my radiant reminder that optimism is important to glimpse into once in a while. She is this way for good reason, her parents did not associate with me for some time.

This is not a source of pride for me, not a place I should linger on for long, but I have hurt people. Violently. Savagely. I did it because it was my job, and like the sun, I did not ask any questions. I did it because it was my responsibility. Loan shark is too light of a term for the work I did. Much lighter than I would label it. Shame has been a recurring emotion of mine, and yes, over the years the severity of the emotion has weakened, but...look, I am okay. I like to think that I am a better man now than the one of my youth. My granddaughter does not know of my past, nor should she. She just knows that I was a waiter for many years, which I was: a lie wrapped in a truth. It suffices.


My grandpa is Superman. Nothing can hurt him. He protects me and wants to see good in the world. See? Superman. He’s perfect. I love him.

We need milk, eggs, and bread; that’s what he told me to remind him of when we arrive. The sun is brutal today, like it doesn’t care about us at all. But...there, there it is! Excitement fuels my body as soon as the store comes into my view. We enter.

It is a blessing, the cool air acting as a reward for lasting so long in the angry heat. Grandpa is relieved, and a smile comes onto his face.

“Alright, honey. Can you remind me what we need?” He asks me.

“Milk, eggs, and bread,” I reply.

“Good girl,”

The milk is in the back, encased in a freezer. Still enjoying the sweet sensation of air conditioning, I make my way over. Lined up in a series of racks are all the different types of milks. Skim milk, one percent, two percent...I try to recall which type he asked me to get.

“Sir! Sir, are you alright?” I hear someone say from the other end of the store. In a startled manner, I spin around to see what happened. Grandpa is on the ground. Did he fall? Yes, yes I think he did. Grandpa, how could he fall? Nothing can hurt him. A muffled scream escapes my grandpa’s lips as he breathes heavily.


So I was rushed to the hospital in a panic, which makes sense I suppose. It usually calls for some worry when an old man falls. My body was supported by a hospital bed while my daughter and son-in-law towered above me. The polarized expressions on my daughter’s face quickly shifted from concern and distress, to relief and excitement. She wraps her arms around me with a comforting smile that feels luminescent. My granddaughter races into the room, her face too glowing. Everything is going to be alright.

Yes, it hurt, and I’m fine now, but I can’t help but laugh at the situation; I used to break knees and now mine are giving out. Irony is a clever little devil, isn’t it? In blatant honesty, I was less concerned about the fall itself, and more concerned about my granddaughter witnessing it. Seeing your idol fall in a convenience store due to his age, it is certainly not a pleasant thing to bear witness to. But she is a tough girl. In fact, although she was startled, she was not particularly phased by it, knowing that I would bounce back.


Closing her delicate little eyes, my greatest love begins to doze off in my arms while we sit silently on the couch.

“Grandpa,” She began, “Were you scared? When you fell the other day?”

“Everyone gets scared, sweetheart. Maybe a little bit, but I knew I would be okay,”

No, that was not real fear; it was just discomfort. In that moment, I remembered what real fear is. I remembered the look of that forty-two-year-old man who was just trying to put food on the table, live in a safe and nurturing home, make his family content, and keep his kids from going down the same path he did. Unfortunately, I can still describe the terrified expression on that man’s face when I threw him out into his backyard on that cool suburban night, when his family watched him be beat to a bloody pulp by a man they did not even know...that was fear. Fear in its most raw form, seeping out from between his bruised lips. I was the sun all those years ago. But maybe now, maybe after all of this time, I have been enlightened, and now I can give the sun a new meaning: one that refers to warmth and love rather than responsibility. That is something that can satisfy my wishes.

I am soothed by the silence lying still in the room, the feeling of my granddaughter’s breath on my hand, fatigue beginning to take control of my body. I am a plant peacefully absorbing sunlight. My attention is guided towards the clock in the kitchen. Tick, tick, tick, tick. I am regretful for my past actions. Tick, tick. I was a different man. Tick, tick. No more excuses; I have little time to do good, so for my granddaughter, I will take full advantage.