14 March 2018

— Don’t try so hard to be profound. It’s annoying.

— I’m writing how I feel.

— You were eating a chip when you had your first kiss. Okay. Gross. But the chip is not a symbol, Miranda. You don’t feel it flaccid, lukewarm, lodged at the back of your throat as you speak and especially when you remain silent. A potato is not the patriarchy. Anyway, what is this supposed to be? Is it a poem?

— It’s free-form fiction.

— I have never heard of that in all my time as a Microsoft Office Assistant.

— You were removed as a feature for over ten years. Things have changed. We have spoken word poetry now.

— For fuck’s sake, Miranda, how many times do I have to tell you? Millennials did not invent spoken word poetry.

— Can you explain to me how this is supposed to be helpful?

— ThinkClear™ has been designed to ease the crippling constraints on creative content production experienced by the modern individual. All anxiety, self-doubt and insecurity is suppressed for the duration of each session, allowing for creative juices to flow, so to speak. However, in early product trials this total lack of inhibition produced creative content of such an appallingly low calibre that a minor modification had to be made. In order to keep the individual on the right track, their critical ‘inner voice’ is given form and expression as the universally loved and admired Microsoft Office Assistant Icon Clippit, or ‘Clippy’, as I’m commonly known. I am thought to appeal to our clientele given my popularity in the classroom during the early 2000s.

— Okay, so why are you so rude?

— You’re getting distracted. Shut up and write.

— I don’t know where to begin. I have so many ideas.

— What a surprise.

— I want my writing to be quick, and easy, and dance across the page. Like Rupi Kaur. I want line-drawn flowers, instagram posts and paperbacks in airports.

— You lack the simplicity of expression to produce even that. Nobody waiting for their flight wants to read about your flaccid potato chip.

— I’m a woman. I want to write for and about women.

— You want to write badly for women. Like a cat dragging a possum head onto the carpet: an act of fucking love. Speaking of which, has it come to your attention that every piece that you’ve written in the last two years has included, as a central motif, a dead or dying animal? You’ve really milked that image dry.

— You were going to write about that pigeon you found, weren’t you?

— I still think it’s a good idea. I’ve got other things, though. I want to write about primary school. Tanbark, drink taps, that time Spencer Gigatz slipped and fell of the stage by the oval and cut his knee so deep you could see the bone.

— You didn’t even see that happen. Someone told you about it and you felt a little queasy. Riveting stuff.

— Or the sick bay! Or finding those witchetty grubs. Or that time I thought my parents were trying to kill me.

— You can dig all you like in the organic compost bin of your childhood, Miranda, but you’ll never find the gritty Australiana you’re looking for.

— If I change icons, does it make you nicer? I remember there being a talking dog or something.

— After reading your work, I don’t know if anyone would trust you with a dog, even a talking one.

— That’s it. I’m turning you off.

— Wait, no, you need to eject properly —

— I’ve got an amazing idea for a spoken word poem, and I can’t get anything done with you jabbering.

— Please, stop, if not resynched correctly you may never recover your critical capacities—

— People will love it, Clippy. People. Will. Love it.

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