In search of story

May 22.21: Coping


Victor Herbert wrote songs for my parents’ generation, so I was raised with some of them. One, I think, he wrote especially for writers: “Ah, sweet mystery of life!”

Writers know the mystery of life is words. Mysteriously they come. Mysteriously they go. Who can understand?

I’ve been without words for a few weeks now. Total blank. Tabula rasa. Nada. Zip. I’ve started a few blog posts that were the undead of writing.

Meanwhile we’ve gone overnight from Too-Cold-To-Garden to Yikes-It’s-Suddenly-Summer-and-Get-Those-Plants-In-NOW! It’s been wonderful to take my dejected writer self to the dirt.

It used to be that digging in my dirt was about worms. Now it’s about cicadas. More, there’s a little bush in front festooned with their overcoats. Apparently a bunch of cicadas got together and decided to shed simultaneously, leaving their outsides dangling on my little shrub like so many crispy-looking ornaments. Ick.

That ghostly emptiness speaks to me. The writer is only an exoskeleton when she doesn’t have words, and the wind whistles through her as she dangles from some metaphorical shrub.

I know that my sadistic muse is nearby, smirking.


8 thoughts on “May 22.21: Coping

  1. Thank you – I needed that. 🙂 Insult to injury – I figured out how to use the blocks but have nothing to say. 🙂 I talked with a MG friend who moved to IN yesterday, and she told me in great detail about the cicadas. When we lived in KS, I remember one year they came, but I was busy being young and didn’t pay any attention to it except for the noise. Same weather here – hitting high 80’s today and tomorrow with humidity pushing it up into the 90’s. I really do think there is some climate change going on, and I’m thinking about how hot it could possibly be come August. We miss you but understand. 🙂

    • Thanks, Judy; I miss being a part of the writing but I figure I’m probably not the only one who’s been through such a slump. As for the cicadas, this morning they got in my clothes! WITH ME!!! They are awful! I can know they won’t hurt me, but that doesn’t make me any calmer when they’re crawling on me. Someone should have timed me from the moment outside I felt it inside my gardener’s dress to the moment it got heaved onto my living room carpet. Two nanoseconds! I picked it up in a tissue and escorted it outside. But it wasn’t the only one that got too close. Ye gods! There’s room for only one in my clothes (barely) and that’s me! I’ve been around a long time but do not remember all these little red eyes. Your friend new to Indiana is certainly getting quite an orientation to it!

      I couldn’t help laughing — though sympathetically, of course — that you’ve figured out the blocks and now have nothing to say! The blocks took it all out of you! But congratulations anyway!

  2. Yeah, one’s muse… they either muscle up or embrace atrophy…and both states provides, for them, the giggles. You gotta laugh back.

    • Laugh back? Laugh and growl at the same time? That’s a whole new approach. But you are so very right: it’s either muscle up or embrace atrophy and they are entertained either way.

  3. Ha! I love the imagery in this post. We went from unseasonably cold to near 90° skipping the 70s like we’re playing hopscotch. I’m not ready for this.

    Good luck digging in the dirt.

  4. ‘Total blank. Tabula rasa. Nada. Zip.’ sounds like the kernel of a poem to me. Could your Muse be playing tricks? The cicadas are so fascinating to me. Their sound is so weird, never mind their subterranean lives. Happy planting! I have done a little but my efforts have been swiftly followed by hail as if nature is laughing at me.

    • Hail?! True, it does sound like Nature’s twisted sense of humor. Most discouraging. I will revisit those words to see if a poem lurks. I’ve been looking everywhere for a poem; maybe it’s there.

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