Tag Archives: writers’ block

Thirsty Thursdays: exploring the wave–particle duality of writing

They say it’s a bad idea to apologize to your  readers for not writing.

“Never apologize.” That’s my motto. I mean, it’s not like I’m getting paid to write, after all!

So I make it a point not to mention it.

We know that sometimes writing does get put on the back burner for other pursuits – home repair and restoration, playing video games, binge-watching Arrow on Netflix, heavy drinking, etc. But that doesn’t mean that writing isn’t important. It’s HUGE, big enough to threaten the structural integrity of the cast iron grate on that back burner. It’s boiling over, and my tendency of late is to hope that it stays that way while I’m attending to other, somewhat less meaningful pursuits.

When I’m writing my mind is this closet that I’m always dipping into, and when I write, what I take out of the closet goes back in when I’m done with it. From time to time I would get an idea and try to find a nice spot for it in the closet. But when seasons change you might forget what’s even inside the closet; you just throw your ideas in there and shut the door again. Then one day you open the door out of some morbid curiosity and this is what greets you:

picture of a messy closet
Not my closet, but if I weren’t tidy that’s what it might look like. (Photo credit: Scott Rubin)

And yeah, there’s a whole shelf of haiku buried in that morass.

Sometimes writing acts like a wave. That’s what you went out there looking for in the first place, to just have this great big idea splash out of you onto the world. What you got, however, was much more than you expected. But that’s why we ride, isn’t it? It bears down on you with crashing, primal strength. You catch it so it can lift you up and carry you forward. You ride it out, a symbiotic force of nature. You come away from it exhilarated, and you can’t wait to catch the next one.

Sometimes writing acts like a particle. it’s just this little thing that by itself is hardly worth mentioning. But if you pump yourself up you can watch the spontaneous particle spring forth from a single atom in the gas-filled tube of your imagination, watch it bounce back and forth between the mirrored ends. You’ll see it coax other gas atoms to sacrifice just a bit of energy to release other particles to run with it, and each particle added to the run multiplies the effect until eventually that one particle has become a powerfully concentrated beam of inspiration, capable of cutting through writers’ block like nobody’s business.

Writing is a perpetual task. When you’re a writer you write for life. Even when I’m not writing, I’m writing. That’s why I never make promises when it comes to my writing: that promise would have to be delivered in perpetuity. I couldn’t do that because eventually I’d be forced to break my promise through one means or another, if you get my drift. So for me to call this post Thirsty Thursdays might invite one to infer an implicit promise that next Thursday will bring you another post called Thirsty Thursdays. I assure you that to make this assumption would be a mistake; there are no guarantees in life.

That being said, I think I’m going to try to tackle this closet.

Haiku Today 2015.03.23 —

ALT-TEXT
(Image credit: James Whitesmith)

 

tails afire,
streaking hues chasing
a dying day

 


Have you ever felt like you forgot how to do something that you thought you could do well on your worst days? Somehow after returning from hiatus, you find the liquor of inspiration has run bone-dry and the raft of expectations you set up for yourself begins to sink as you realize that you have no way to bail yourself out. Now all you have is an empty bottle and no message to put inside . . .

Like those fiery colors that chase the setting sun, you can follow the traces of your inspiration round and round the world and never touch it — unless you come to the conclusion that all you have to do is go back to where you started from: that place where you found your calling, before you began chasing the white whale of what you thought you had been trying to accomplish: creations magnified through the lens of your reflexive aggression.

As Sons and Daughters of Creation, this should be so much easier. Pure and simple. We leave food for inspiration everywhere we go, contrails of existence that glow with a color all our own. We streak the world with it, and then we complain that we have nothing to write about.

We spend our existence chasing ends, only to find ourselves at beginnings. Why should that be a surprise?

(Header image by Alan Levine)