“Try A Little Tenderness.” No, that’s not right. “Love is a Losing Game.” That’s much better. The feeling in my chest and throat seemed inescapable. 

“Thinking creatively,” which is what I called it, was something I did on a daily basis; consistently searching for the right screwdriver to fit the right screw. My fingers would lay in insistence. 

“That’s weird.”

A former lover told me this is what a fellow classmate of hers had said after she had told them about me “thinking creatively.” Was it? Was “thinking creatively” with my mind and my fingers, as if I was playing a scale on the piano or a game like “five finger fillet” without a knife weird? Of all the uncertainties, these are the ones that did not bother me. Until they did. 

“Thinking creatively” was relayed from my fingers and mind to a bed, a car, a door, a job, a conversation, a window, a walk to class, a whole life. All was constantly interrogated, spinning like a merry-go-round, and overcrowded with the lack of drainage of my mind’s dam. It was all a shadow that followed me during the day and displayed itself on my bedroom ceiling at night.

This all led to ultimately going to people who knew me and my creative thinking better than myself. The questions, no matter how many times I double, triple, or quadruple-checked and pondered them, were all laid bare for them to see. 

“That makes sense.”

My fingers now lay in disorder, and that’s okay.

By John Phillips