Saturday, March 30, 2013


A deadline approaches, nearer now than last week.  I have been staring at the screen for days and fret, my mind remains empty of ideas and the blank screen beckons me to fill it, but I cannot.  I am blocked!

It happens, this absence of thought, my mental state a wasteland and barren of ideas.  When this sort of thing happens the screen seems an infinitely deep pool at the bottom of which there might lurk an idea, a spark, some hint of direction.  But no, nothing rises from the depths. I can detect nothing that might help relieve my frustration. Despite all my practice at this writing business I find that my cupboard of ideas is depleted, discover that the horse has flown the coop, understand that my muse's dog howls at nothing in the dark of despair, and that the barn door swings open to reveal that all occupants have departed.  Worse yet, I've suddenly devolved into miserable inept metaphors.

Usually my mind is brimming with story ideas, of things I want to explore or test, and of techniques that might expand my repertoire a bit. But for days I've sat bereft of thought, knowing not what words to type or where they might take me.  When a scene does pop to mind with bright promise I hope that it is part of a larger narrative that I do not yet see, so I pursue the lines, troweling one brick of a paragraph upon another, building a foundation only to discover that what I have constructed teeters and falls into incoherent directionless dribble.

Frustrated at the wasted effort I still think that some of that failed attempt can be salvaged.  So I embark on another thread that might lead to some sort of resolution, only find that once again the narrative fails to gel.  There is no light at the end of that tunnel.

Daunted, I roll another sheet into my blank screen and begin to free associate, producing fragments of scenes, bits of dialogue, snippets of description - a scrap of hair there, a plaid vest here, perhaps a pocket watch or a robot - all of which fill pages with no rhyme, reason, or relationships.  Despite how much I type, I can produce nothing more than blocks of unconnected words, words, words!

 I consider holding on to these random pieces and then, sometime next week, maybe, I can brilliantly tie them together in a neat package to meet the deadline as an entire story. But then, how can I depend on the future me to be any more competent than the extant model of the here and now who can't get this damn piece done?  I stare at the computer - a stone of a thousand tons that my fragile writing chisel cannot  hope to pierce to find the story within.  So I continue to stare at the white screen, hoping and waiting for my muse to return.

This is writing.

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