Saturday, September 9, 2017

Blocking Writing

Every once in a while, I get an undisclosed melancholy which accompanies acute writers' block.

My writing coach doesn't believe such a thing as writers' block exists.  He cajoles, "Write about what a jerk I am for saying otherwise if nothing else." in fewer words.

I can, but the goal of writing isn't to merely be clever, the point is to discover something within the uncarved marble of the mind, which when fully chiseled out, is beautiful and solid and worth preserving.  So I sat musing, why do I want to find these beautiful words, what's the point of it?

Is it glory for me?  Well, I'll admit, it really was and used to just be...because part of me, a part I'm not overly proud of, felt myself somehow trivial.  It's not a nice thought, that I belittled my own vocation in my own eyes.  I wonder if I did so to my children too.

Being published was something of a rush, still is, but like any addiction, it satisfies less with each hit, because I find myself scrambling to carve out the next piece.  Good poems are never finished, only abandoned.  Good columns, well, I find they all look like prom pictures.  In the moment, they are beautiful, cool, and I want to share them with everyone.  In the glare of the next day, under the gaze of time and judgment, I find them less lovely, more awkward and indicative of all the ways in which I don't know myself or my own faults than anything else.   Do I still want to write columns? Yes.  I'd just like them to be more thoughtful, less rushed.  Not sure how to do that...

I do know why I began.  It began as an escape.  Everyone else goes to school or work and I was here, decade after decade, folding socks, doing dishes, working out at the gym sometimes and wondering, where is the more?  What is the more?  Why can't I do more?  God laughed at my feeling insignificant and gave me more...and more...and more...until I stopped thinking, I want to do more and started saying, "I want to do something different."  God gave me more...and it was different.  So I stopped saying "I want."  

I started working at a high school and found myself wishing for the minutes at home, not because I didn't like the work or the people or the job, but because I now couldn't pour out the minutes like water on my family.  I couldn't justify holing up with the computer to write when I'd been away all week, but when I'd get to the weekend, I didn't want to pour out the minutes like water, I felt somehow, shouldn't I keep them?

 Reminded of Bilbo and the ring, I horded minutes, when that was precisely what I should not do.  At which point, I understood my own weaknesses.  A child cannot comprehend why they cannot eat all the candy.   They just know, they want it.  So I'm praying, God, be merciful and do not give me what I want, but what you want.  Otherwise, please please please, don't listen to me.  Ignore me.    

So what is the point of all of this? Why do you write Sherry?

So I can learn what I'm supposed to be doing, why, and how to go about doing it. I told my writing coach.  He said, "I could have fixed it much faster if you'd just written about what a jerk I am."

Next time.

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