Search
Archives
Now Reading

Shelby Foote, The Civil War

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or the Whale

Michael Punke, The Revenant

Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island

 

Disclaimer

The contents of this website are for contemplative purposes only. No medical advice will be given, and emails asking for medical advice will be ignored.

Although patient vignettes are based on my experiences with real individuals, I liberally change details to maintain patient confidentiality.

I also reserve the right to change old postings to correct errors, and to delete comments that include obscene language or that I deem abusive to me or other commentators.  If you are looking for a open mind, I suggest you consult a neurosurgeon.

Katrina Blog Project
« Out of the Paris Accord | Main | Jimmy Kimmel and Pre-Existing Conditions »
Saturday
May202017

On Writer's Block

Waking up in the morning, my mind swirls with all sorts of things: turns of phrases, essay and novel titles, images -- whole paragraphs leaping out intact, sometimes even whole essays, complete-form.

Between the mind and the page there is a speed bump. It's not all that high, but that's the genius of speed bumps anyway. They don't have to be high. They don't have to forbid. They just have to discourage.

If I understood the speed bump, it would be easy to defeat. My sense is that it is a problem of organization, not of fluidity. It is easy to think of lack of fluidity as the heart of writer's block, the misery of squeezing for that drop that just won't come, but at least for me, that is not it. I am fluid all the time. I slosh from one end of my house to the other.

No, the problem is organization. Which is the opposite of fluidity. You can pour water into an ice cube tray, confining it and compartmentalizing it, and it will freeze and take shape easily enough. But there is the patient work of deciding to pour the water, of taking a moment to interrupt a non-structured day and do something structured -- pour water right now into a structured container with the expectation of enjoying an ice cube some time in the undefined future. It is easier not to be organized now for the sake of later, and so I leave my tray empty in the freezer rather than filling it up.

With writing, there is this ever-so-mild resistance to shape. The words flow, but you have to submit to limits and pour -- you decide this goes here, that goes there, that over there goes in the trash. We who flow are not amenable to that.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.