I can’t put an exact date to it, but I’ve come to a realization that over the last few months I’ve been suffering from the worst ailment a writer can ever succumb to. Broken fingers? Nope. Blindness? God forbid. No, I’ve officially got Writer’s Block.
Interestingly, it didn’t come to me like, say, the flu where you go to bed with a scratchy throat and wake up the next day unable to pull a Lazarus. It was really much more insidious than that. It was that tickly cough that just wouldn't go away. An annoyance at first, but something I brushed off with “It's nothing to worry about.” It didn’t hurt. It wasn’t painful. It was really only noticeable when I was actively looking for story ideas. I just felt a bit foggy; like the cobwebs needed to be dusted out of the old noggin.
I shook it off, of course. As one does. Stiff upper lip and all that. Best foot forward, and all of those other wonderful clichés I learned when living in Britain. I figured it was just a phase. I’d take a few days off and get right back on it next week. An idea was sure to come to me over the weekend, and I’d put it on paper the following week!
Unfortunately the problem grew. Even when I had an idea or two, putting them on paper was proving to be painful. My sentence construction went from something Franklin Lloyd Wright may have been proud of to the Lincoln log debacle of a three-year-old. My vocabulary was shrinking before my eyes. The brain fog that I'd been complaining of had become smog circa 1970 Los Angeles. What was I to do? And more importantly, what had caused my condition? If I couldn’t find the cause, how could I possibly find the cure?
I started thinking seriously about what major life event had happened over the last few months to get me to my currently dire predicament. Sure, there had certainly been a few, (how shall I put it delicately), shitty things that had happened in my life, but I’m a pretty resilient person, and I’d never been affected like this before. In fact, when bad stuff happens, I usually turn to writing as my outlet! It’s my stress-relief. Some people go to the gym and knock a punching bag senseless. I hit the keyboard. It’s my thing.
No, it had to be something more pervasive than a few hard knocks. Something I was waking up to every day that I couldn’t just shake off, no matter how hard I tried. It was just there, looming. Like the Angel of Death; Something so devilishly evil that it was literally my sucking my life force from me. Like a Dementor in a Harry Potter story. Except Orange. And that’s when it hit me! I know exactly where my mojo’s been, and I need to get it back for my own health and well-being. I must resist in the best way I know how!
Does it mean my posts may get just a tad more politicized? Maybe, although I am committed first and foremost to this being a writing blog. In case there’s any question as to which side of the political divide I’m on, try my short story Trumptopia on for size. It’s a dystopian short written before the 2016 presidential election about life under a Trump administration. It will tell you two things; one, life really does imitate art; and two, I may be a snowflake, but from what I've been told from a friend up North, winter is coming…..
So, instead of being paralyzed by the catastrophe I see in the White House, maybe I should be inspired by it. What kind of stories might the current state of affairs inspire? If I face my demons head on, rather than be paralyzed by them, perhaps I can create art with a social message. It's time for the glass to be half full once more.
As Austin Powers would say, "Yeah, Baby!" ;)