In search of story

October 30.21: Coping


My muse sent me this. Very funny.

What is it with writing? Why do the words  jump up and down and clamor to be heard in my head sometimes, and other times they are dead silent in some black hole?

I had a wonderful instructor once who said that when we hit a writer’s block it means we’re avoiding what we should be writing about. But writing is always avoidance, it seems to me. When I’m trying to write, I am not reading the news, cleaning the kitchen, or driving among our homicidal species. Isn’t that avoidance? How do I know what I’m avoiding if writing helps me avoid so much?

At the same time, I know that writing often pulls us into places we’d rather avoid. I get that. But it doesn’t help.

There is only one letter difference between writing and writhing. It’s close no matter how you look at it. I’ve been writhing mentally for days with no writing to show for it. A word will float up in my head like some defunct alewife on Lake Michigan, then another, another, and suddenly I’m up to my keyboard in lifeless words.

I am thinking that this intentionally blank paper will be the perfect gift-wrap for the lump of coal a certain muse might get this Christmas.



11 thoughts on “October 30.21: Coping

  1. With everything we’re trying to avoid these days, Maureen, it’s a wonder you can focus even on the odd word here or there. I’m sure if you post one or two of those, someone will be offended.

    I hope the muse gets its act together soon.

    • Thanks, Dan! I hope so too. Indeed there are lots of land mines we don’t want to step on with words these days; that adds to the challenges.

  2. I love the post because I can relate, but I really had a good chuckle with the comments. Yes, we must weigh all our words to make sure every word is good for every person which is of course not possible. There is also that balance of what you want to say on the www and what you don’t. 🙂 It’s a wonder we can put any words together. 🙂

    • I can’t help thinking of the line in the movie “1776” when John Adams says — about words — something like “It’s a REVOLUTION, dammit! We’re going to have to offend SOMEBODY!” Right now I’m so wordless that I’d almost be glad to write something offensive! I’ll try not to, though. I just hate these dry spells. Thanks for relating — it helps.

  3. For me it’s daring to leave a white page blank -that’s how I came to sketch as a preteen, and later paint –to the horror of my parents, who did not know what to do with a daughter who painted everything in sight. (talking about rocking their worldview!) – then to their astonishment I favored psychological books in my mid teens!
    You weathered a month of coping – that’s awesome – you must be ready or even happy for another topic:):)

  4. The page, not being blank, reminded me of Ivor Cutler’s stickies (or stickers). They said things like ‘kindly ignore’ and ‘to remove this label take it off’. They will not help with the pesky muse, you not having any stickies and them not in any case being something you can attach to muses. Another stickie said ‘creativity requires a certain amount of ignorance’, so perhaps you could try to ignore something. Me, for instance!

    • Never! Ignore you, that is. I love the instruction to remove it take it off. It is so like the allergen warning on the peanut butter label that it contains peanuts. The advice about ignoring something is very good, and I will work on that. Be assured that if I could find that muse, I’d slap a big sticky on her. I assume she’s working on something, like collecting brilliant metaphors and fertile ideas, by way of getting on my good side when she returns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.