Not that I thought I was above it, or immune, but I long-ago (ok, a couple of years, which for me constitutes the bulk of my writing life) determined that my self-diagnosed adult-onset ADD was protection against writer’s block – that firing off in all directions, while it might delay movement forward on any given final product, would at least have writing be my distraction from writing – a win-win(ish) situation.
There was always something to say and the prevailing anxiety at any given moment was what not how or whether. At the moment there seems to be nothing at all.
I tried two weeks ago to get it up for my blog by writing another piece about our so-called relationship and my wandering "pen". I called it No Blog Left Behind – and started composing the dialogue.
Blog: “I feel like that Soviet dog Laika floating around out there alone in space before he died.”
Me: “Are you sure that dog was male? I googled and I don’t think that’s known information.”
Blog: “Are you serious?”
Me: “You should be happy for me. This is what we talked about. This was the plan.”
Blog: “No the plan was you wander, but you always come back.”
Me: “I do miss you.”
Blog: “You’re a fair-weather creep - that person willing to sleep with their ex because they’re not getting it anywhere else.”
Me: “We were never meant to be monogamous…creep’s a fine underused word…”
Blog: “Fuck you.”
Then it kind of fell flat and I walked away, noting that walking away was starting to feel a bit familiar.
It’s terrifying actually. I quit a secure, well-paying job that I didn’t hate, to write, and at the moment my overwhelming sense is that the world is filled with other people’s smart, well-crafted, funny words so why add any more?
But while I now consider myself a skilled reader - a happy bi-product of writing - no one’s going to pay me to read, or quite frankly, praise me for a piece well read. Obviously I can’t count on the money – most of us trying to get a writing break at the moment know it’s not about the money, but I crave the high that comes from accolades – no matter how small.
If I’m honest with myself, the block that's blocked me goes beyond writing. I seem to have general performance block. It’s not that I’m doing nothing at all, but I feel stagnant. Paperwork, housework, good ideas, self-promotion – all seem to be alluding me at the moment. What I am able to do with regularity is wander around my house gazing at projects that require attention. I do unload the dishwasher – a chore my 13 yr old does when he’s not at camp. But I noticed a raccoon or maybe a small bear, took two shits on my back porch, just outside the door, and all I could do was stare at the flies and cherry pits, curse urban wildlife, and step over it.
Maybe we have cycles of productivity and engagement and when you do a job job that generates the same pay cheque every two weeks regardless of the quality of your output, it’s not so obvious.
For those of you that have been waiting for many weeks, wondering if Laika was dead, I just wanted to give you all a sign of life and expose my metaphorically weepy underbelly.
I’m almost ready to turn to blow (not that kind) or humiliate or woo you-out-of-your–rut motivational self-help books – to read, not to write (although that might be an idea). But who has time for that? Oh ya, I do. I’ll get on it right after I clean up that shit.