In search of story



I have been in a place of real horror. It’s somewhere inside me. It stops me from writing. Even emailing has become too much of a challenge.

It isn’t any want of words. It’s that there are too many words. Too many images. Too many feelings, questions. I cannot latch on to a one of them. It is impossible to think a thought from beginning to middle, let alone from beginning to end. Let alone write it! There’s a dam there. And the water keeps rising and swirling, gathering into itself ever more words. And images. And thoughts. But it can’t go anywhere.




This isn’t a first, and therefore I think it will pass, but meanwhile I am miserable. Writing is a tool for survival, and so when I can’t write I wonder if I will crumple.

My wise writing mates taught me that writing paralysis can be a sign of evasion. What am I evading? What am I trying not to write about? Do I know? Do I know that I know? How deep will this infested water be by the time I find that one twig to yank and bring down the dam?

My writing mates are, I think, pointing the way to that twig. Shirah, with her newly-finished and compelling word portrait, and Tamara, with this morning’s blog post about writing. Both speaking, as writers, to life, the alpha dam.

In the writing of these few words, I’ve had to get up and pace many times. Something in me is trying to stop this measly trickle.

5 thoughts on “Dam!

  1. One of the tricks that’s helping me this year is a new journal and a whole box of sparkly pens. If I sit down to write, I get to pick a different sparkly color. Yesterday, it was gold. Gold ink scribbled on the page. My writing may not be sparkly but I put down words and I enjoy the way they look as I write, even if they make no sense. This is hard, I know, and there seems to be a great deal of resistance and distraction floating around right now. It will pass, like you said.

  2. What we won’t do to get the words to come! I think the sparkly pens are an inspired idea, and I think there is definitely something to be said for words that look good even if they don’t make sense — sometimes that’s the only way to the ones that do make sense. Plus it’s fun. Which is a vast improvement over dog-paddling in writer’s waters.


  3. I’m evading both writing and painting right now. The writing, because once I get started I get delightfully obsessed with it at the expense of other “responsibilities” I need to tend to. The same with painting. I have a canvas and easel set up right in front of me at this moment. I know that the minute I begin drawing on it everything else around me will become trivial in comparison. I’ll become obsessed. So what’s wrong with that? Income, at the moment. But that’s just rationalization, isn’t it? One can do both. I’m just afraid of the dreaded block, of the dreaded failure to perform at genius level. I’m afraid of what I can’t achieve.

    I’ve got to buy some sparkly somethings.

    • How painfully insightful. “Afraid of what I can’t achieve.” What a world of truth in that, and on so many levels. THANK YOU.

      Indeed, what’s wrong with the obsession? Just because it makes no sense financially or practically or logically? Just because it drives us nuts? But what a wonder that, when we’re finished, something new exists.

      I do love your resolve to go buy some sparkly things. Matter of fact, I love your whole comment. Thank you!

  4. One can never have too many sparkly somethings. As always, very insightful, both of you.

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