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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Writers' Block...?

I was looking tonight for a piece from a decidedly juvenile period to start thenew year. I recall writing one or two pieces in my early teens that I wouldn't mind offerring up for public consumption at this stage. In fact, I spent the last hour or so entertaining myself, remembering old muses and situations that prompted some of these old stories. Then I ran into a letter that never made it to completion. It's dated 2002/05/07 and in it, I realise that I've captured an incredible bit of insight into the nature of Writers' Block...

I've copied it here, exactly as I did in the unfinished letter, a stream of thoughts...


Why do I write...?

Because sometimes a story, an issue, a lie, a truth, a sorrow, a joy lands on my chest and sits there and the only way that I can manage to breathe is to grab a pen and prise it to fuck off. The thing is though that sometimes it just doesn't work that way, it's just not that easy all the time; I allow it to sit there for a while, allowing it to stifle me, while it takes up all the room in my existence. Then the only way that I can manage to continue to live is to try to coax it off, attract it to pretty patterns on paper, to strings of words and sounds that sing, to loops and swirls that dance on the sheets. And then maybe, just maybe, the story, the issue, the lie, the truth, the sorrow, the joy, that thing will crawl off and engross itself in the show, ensnare itself in the plot, and join the words at play. And when it's gone, it will have made room for some other little shit to come along and sit squarely on my chest and keep me from breathing until I get me a pen and find a way to get its ass off me too.

Sometimes, the coaxing is easy because it's cooperative...

Sometimes the thing is a bitch with claws that dig deep into my skin, or roots that sink themselves in my gut, and I have no idea how to begin to get it off. The mother fucker leaves my ass so numb with the continuous and persistent pain that I stop caring that it's there anymore after a while. I get accustomed to having to take short, sharp breaths. I live with the black balloons floating in front of my eyes all the time. It gets that I no longer recognise it for what it is, and no longer remember how I moved such things before, no longer remember how I dislodged them and trapped them on but a flimsy bit of writing paper. And as long as it's there, sitting on me, there's no room for anything else anymore.

It's not Writers' Block. Calling it that is to not respect it, to not see it for what it is. It's something alive, something that's agitating quietly for my attention. It lives to be captured, put on display and immortalized. It's alive and fierce and relentless, and it will kill me if I don't move it quickly enough.

It takes energy sometimes to move it though. And I realise that sometimes life makes a body so tired. You spend all day shovelling shit in the real world and you don't want to waste the effort because you know you have a whole new shit hill to move tomorrow. Maybe that's a cop out. Maybe it's the truth. Maybe I just can't stand to part with the cute and cuddly teddy bear that's seated squarely atop my chest. Maybe it only looks like a teddy bear because I'm close to blacking out for want of air and just a tad delusional. Maybe it knows things about me that I don't want people to know about me, and when I coax him off, he'll expose my ass.

But if I don't move him, if I don't get him off me, there won't be room for anything else. There won't be any more stories. And if I don't move him then sooner or later, I'll forget how I moved anything off my chest at all. And then, at some point, I'll slip into darkness and just die...

About time I got that teddy bear off my chest, isn't it...?

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