Oddments

In search of story

June 26.20: Coping

7 Comments

Well, dear reader, here it is again: writer’s block/slump/wasteland — call it what you will. I’ve been a big blank for over a week now. Yesterday I spent hours on a thought, trying to transfer it to words. I think I wore out the delete key.

What a mystery writing is. Not that I’m telling you anything you don’t know. Why do the words come and why do they not come? Where do they go, for heaven’s sakes?

I’ve not caught a glimpse of my muse, except perhaps in a particularly muscular buzzard, a.k.a. turkey vulture, hauling roadkill into the woods. Usually she’s a hawk, but she could have morphed. Right now I’d happily call her a buzzard. Now there’s a word. Don’t you love words that mean something just by the way they sound? Have you ever seen the book “Sound and Sense” by Laurence Perrine? My tattered, moldy copy dates back to my college days in the 60s. It says it’s about poetry but I don’t think so; it’s about the way the sound of a word makes it the perfect choice. Meaning isn’t the whole of it. The word must sound with the meaning. That’s prose, too. Just ask Sam Clemens.

I hope you are well, dear reader, and can still cling to sanity.

 

7 thoughts on “June 26.20: Coping

  1. You made me smile on several counts including the absence of the writing muse and Sam Clemons. I also smiled at the book and college because it reminds me of carrying around a Merriam-Webster paper dictionary at all times so words were spelled correctly. Now, we just pull out the phone and google. πŸ™‚ Happy Friday, Maureen, and here’s hoping some happy ducks float by instead of the buzzard. πŸ™‚

    • Oh, yes, the books we carried around! I remember the bruises on my arms, just below the elbow, from carrying books in high school. What astounds me even more in memory is that we studied so many different things all at one time. Good gracious, at this point I can barely think of one thing at a time! And I’ll take the ducks any day over the buzzard. I bet there’s no such thing as a cute baby buzzard. Happy Friday to you, too, Judy! If you see my muse, please hand her a map and tell her to get back here!

  2. Still clinging. I didn’t know the book you mention and looked it up online. We all like different sounding words though, wouldn’t you think, although a poet might well be interested in sound. I haven’t read many books about writing. I enjoyed reading Harold Bloom on Shakespeare when I was last over in the US, although I understand he is not universally admired.

    I am bad about writing with any discipline unless forced to, so I can’t help admiring your struggle as being something very worthy even as I sympathise for the difficulty of enduring it. I could not imagine sitting down and really struggling with a thought for hours without flitting off to do something else. As a result I have an alarming number of unfinished thoughts.

    • I’m very glad to know you still are clinging! You are right about how we all like different-sounding words, and that’s probably how a writer’s personality comes through in what she writes.

      I find it impossible to believe that you don’t write with discipline. However, I can easily believe that you must be busy about many things and might not sit still obsessing over a verb. Alas, obsessing over verbs is no guarantee of finishing thoughts.

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