Saturday, January 23, 2016


I believe writer's block might actually be a real thing. A physical block, probably between three to five feet high. High and heavy enough to feel the weight, that's for sure. And that's the only thing that I know for sure -- that writer's block can physically knock you out and pin you down. But if my occasional flirtation with Eastern philosophy has taught me something, it is that you go with the flow. You allow whatever is happening to happen because you don't really have a choice. At least not if it is in the process of happening or has already happened. The choice you do have, however, is what you will do with the situation, whatever that situation may be. So let it be. Let it happen and see what happens.

I am trying to write a novel. Who do I think I am? An unemployed Millennial with too much time on her hands and delusions of grandeur? In a word, yes. Or at least, probably. Probably requires less confidence and commitment. "Yes" and "no" are too final for me. My days are made up of probablys and maybes and a scattering of kinda sorta who knows. It has worked for me so far. Maybe not worked well, but it has worked. I avoid real work so I can live in ambiguity. I simultaneously embrace and fear the unknown. I I I. I want to give up the I. I want to see with eyes I do not claim as my own. I am rambling again. It's a feeble attempt to chip away at this probably-between-three-to-five-foot-high cube of doubt. At least I'm trying. At least.

Each paragraph has started with "I." Not this time. This time it starts with "each," which is one letter shy of "reach." The perfect paragraph is just out of my reach, the words and images taunting me from on top of that pesky block. But I am 5'6", am I not? I am. So technically I could reach my hands up and pull down those words and images with relative ease. Nothing comes that easy, though. Unless it does. But what am I supposed to do once I have those elusive words and images in my arms? Just hold them close? How am I supposed to take off my jacket or clean my apartment or gesticulate wildly with my arms full? Ah-ha. The protagonist has just encountered a dilemma. Now we're getting somewhere.

I will get somewhere if I don't stop moving. That's why I'm cleaning my apartment -- I am moving, naturally. Is it natural to move so often? Humans seem to seek out a home, not a house, not a month-to-month room with bad lighting and thin walls. Humans want somewhere to hang up the jacket they just took off. I've been hanging mine on a block for too long when all I want is to toss the jacket over a well-worn couch. No need for a jacket anyway; the familiarity will keep me warm.

I believe the writer will continue to encounter the block, be it physical or otherwise, over and over and over again throughout their life as a writer (which happens to be a lifetime or two). And maybe, probably, kinda sorta the writer does not need to concern themselves with chiseling away at the block or hatching a plan to get past it. Who knows. Maybe the kinda sorta probably writer needs to simply allow the words to flow around the block. It's not a dam, you know. It's merely a three-to-five-foot tall centerpiece that may very well one day become a conduit. The water keeps moving around it and so should you. Familiarity may keep you warm, but it can also cause you to sink.

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