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.
I do realize that not all life’s problems are so easily airbrushed, and not everyone has a flower to watch, and I wish it were otherwise. But the other day this happened to me. I was utterly out of patience and stormed out to the back, and there was this gorgeous, tranquil little being, totally absorbed in the zinnias. Imagine being hit so hard by calm.