The visitor asked, "Can you write a story without a prompt?"
"I don't know," said the writer. "I've never tried."
"Really? You mean all those stories you wrote arose from something you'd seen or heard?"
"Or something I'd read. Tasted. Felt. Wondered about."
"And the novels? The poems? That terrible album you wrote and recorded?"
The writer smiled. "Yes, all of them. I need to have something to start from, some germ of a concept that I can build on. It's like the way a jazz musician riffs off a set theme. They start with what they have and make something new and unexpected."
"Then I guess the afterlife is going to be quite a trial for you," said the visitor. "It's nothing but an empty, eternal, endless void of nothingness."
"What? How would you know what the afterlife is like?"
This time, it was the visitor who smiled.