It’s been 2 weeks since I last posted. I don’t think anyone has really noticed except a couple of loyal readers who ask when I will write again. (God bless them, they make me feel loved.) But, it really has bothered one person in particular.
See, after my book was published in 2003, it was like I hit a wall. My writing slowed to a trickle. There’s a book I have been writing on since 2005. I get it out and rewrite the same 6 chapters over and over and it never goes anywhere. It’s like losing and then regaining the same 5 pounds again and again.
When I can’t write, my creative outlet is art, and I have done some painting and sculpting and fun projects while my writing goes by the wayside, but it’s been annoying that I have had writer’s block for so long.
So, when I began this blog, I was elated to be writing again, getting into the swing of things once more, feeling those creative wires connect. What a gift this empty nest was going to give me! The words were coming to me easily, fast, unexpected. It’s been thrilling to be able to dip into that place in my mind where I can make things happen with words and humor and poignancy and hopefully entertain and help my readers at the same time.
I have half written posts, many notes, lists of blog posting ideas, photos to use, things to consider for later, for holidays, etc. I’m even thinking of finishing one of my book projects.
Well, I was.
Now I’m stuck. Again.
I have not only Writer’s Block (Block= something that obstructs or prevents progress) but mainly what I call Writer’s Blockade (Blockade = to obstruct access to a place) A block would be something like having a computer go on the blitz, or just being too busy to have time to write. Indeed, life has been busy. But a blockade to my writing would be not being able to access that place in my mind where my words are, where everything comes together and makes unorganized and funny sense. It’s what makes me tick, and it isn’t ticking right now.
I’ve tried everything – long walks in the lovely weather, quiet time out under the trees in my back yard, reading someone else’s work, looking at photos, reading over my older works, meditation. Nothing was working. Then I realized something.
I was trying too hard.
What was fun in the beginning was that I could write without trying. This blog is mine. There is no editor’s deadline. I don’t have to write on a schedule. I don’t have to prove a thing.
There, that took care of the guilt, at least.
With all this soul-searching about my writing, I have remembered that my best work happens when things get tough. Sometimes I have to go to a dark place to find my words. Sometimes everything has to go wrong before I can write my way out of it. Even a huge change, even if it’s good, can bring my words back to me. Like Alli going to college. That worked for a while.
The excellent news is that life has been good. Things have been going well. And maybe I will never write again since things are so good? Should I pray for tragedy?
But on a small-scale, the past 2 weeks have been rather disconcerting, beginning with a nasty cold. I refrain from saying anything’s been bad because I try to be positive, but in retrospect, I could have easily been taken to my dark place. No doubt, I was on my way there. It seemed that everything built up, and then I had just a really bad day. I tried not to think of it as a bad day. I really, really did.
The events of that day:
- I got a flu shot first thing in the morning. It made me grumpy and gave me a sore throat (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and the rest of the day went downhill. Darn flu shot.
- Bad news came to me from a friend. It’s so bad I can’t talk about it.
- Dad called to say that my mother took a bad fall and they spent 5 hours at the emergency room. She is home and okay. Wheel chairs were discussed. I will not lie. It scares me to see my parents’ age.
- Thinking of my parents aging, reminds me that I’m aging, which reminds me of how my child is growing up so fast. (See how this thing can snow ball if you let it?)
- More bad news in the afternoon. (Really too minor to mention.) By this time, I realized everyone around me on the shuttle to the parking lot was in a foul mood. I think it really was that darn flu shot we all had.
Okay. I’d had it. It was a sunny, lovely day. I was going to have to prevent myself from going to the dark side. In order to do this, I had to be productive. I would wash my car. I stopped by a car wash. I dropped 4 quarters in and vacuumed 2 months worth of leaves from my floorboards. I found bobby pins and an empty Lemon Heads box on the passenger side of the car. It made me miss my Punky.
Next, I pulled up to do the actual car wash. I dropped in 8 more quarters. For fun, I thought I’d try that foamy brush thing. Oh my gosh it was fun! The whole car was completely covered in bubbles. I mean thick bubbles. You could hardly tell it was a car! My bad mood was going away! This was so much fun that I lost track of time. I pushed the Rinse button and got about a 10 second rinse when the darn thing cut off! GRRRRRRRR. I went through the car and there were no more quarters!
Okay. I was in a super bad mood at that moment. I got in the car and drove home.
Bubbles were flying everywhere. The windshield wipers were flinging suds onto the other cars. I looked straight ahead, like this was normal. Like this was really not happening. At the first light, I could feel the stares and could almost hear the laughter from the other drivers on Franklin Road. When I took off, I think I saw a few cars drive around giant bubble monsters in the road, not knowing what they were.
Go ahead. Laugh. See if I care?
Darn. Of course all the neighbors were out when I turned onto our street. Of course they would be. They had to see this, since they had already seen all my other strange happenings. (See Mommy in the Skype with Diamonds, posted 9/15/11)
So, I had to get the garden hose out and rinse the car after all. The roofers who replaced our hail damaged roof a couple of weeks ago, had left it in a tangle. I wrestled with it for a good 10 minutes, and muttered a few bad words.
Then I stepped in dog poop.
Then it rained.
Then I discovered I really did have money in my purse I could have used to rinse the car.
That was a couple of days ago. I have been walking lightly, and trying to keep Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen’s song in my head:
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
don’t mess with Mister In-Between
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium’s
Liable to walk upon the scene
Today we visited with Punky via Skype. It was a long chat, maybe 45 minutes. It was like we were sitting around the living room. I had just gotten out of the shower. Both of us were in our robes. Punky was in bed. We covered everything from alcohol to academics, from books to boys and everything in between. It was a wonderful visit with our maturing daughter and her great wit.
I didn’t realize how much I really needed that visit until we hung up. Sometimes I will not let normal feelings creep into my day because I do not want to be weak. I must learn to let go and cry and be in a bad mood and call a bad day by name, and admit I miss my child and realize it is perfectly okay to do so.
Finally, I had the courage to view the DVD I made for Punky’s graduation party in May. It was basically her whole life in photos with fun songs. Although I made it 5 months ago, I still have not watched it on the big screen. I think I’ve been afraid, once again, of it taking me to that dark place. I’ve been afraid of crying, of breaking this strong front I’ve been putting on since we dropped her off in Texas. Well, I got to thinking that maybe it would bring my words back to me. So, I watched it tonight.
Did I cry? Yes. Happy tears.
Am I in my dark place? No.
Has the blockade been lifted? I’m thinking it has! (1,680 words later…)
Maybe all I needed was another good cry? Or a reminder that we have had such a good and fun life! What I noticed about all of the 250 + photos in that show is that in most of them, we are laughing. And in all of them, there are happy memories.
And I really can’t stop laughing about the hilarity of my bubble covered car going down Franklin Road in rush hour…
Hand me a pen. I’m feeling better. (Watch out! I’m back!)
P.S. Embrace the dark ‘til you see the light!