Monday, October 31, 2005

Writer's block

It's a big heavy lump in your throat, or your brain, or your pen, depending on where you deem your voice to come from. I believe that Philip Larkin placed it in the stomach. 'That irresistable force meeting that unmoveable object in your belly'... or something along those lines. You may be thinking a lot when you meet the obstacle. Lots of things in your mind, ideas and images, but when you come to write them down the words are pale and lifeless. Or cliched. They die as they hit the paper. There are also times when the block seems to deaden your mind as well as your muse. Nothing comes to mind, yet you desire to write. You feel blank and the silence is deafening. You try to dive into that silence, to pull out the ideas, the words, the truths that the silence is choking. You know there is something there, and yet at the same time the doubt sets in.

Was I ever able to write? The questions fall thick and fast. Have I lost all my abilities forever? Was it all a lie? Was I faking it? Has my luck run out? Am I drained dry now forever? Was I never any good to start with? I didn't read enough, I was too arrogant, I was naive. Questions of identity, of one's place in the world all emerge from their hiding places, biting and grabbing. Maybe the muse was an illusion, or worse, delirium. Something you made up to forge some kind of meaning for yourself which crumbles when bathed in natural light. A figment of your imagination that cannot survive in the 'real' world. You put your head in your hands, stare at blank paper, glaring computer screen. Maybe you doodle. Maybe you just gaze at printed words until your eyes lose focus. Maybe you think about how strange words look.

You pick up the pen and write. You write anything. This is how recovery starts. You write writer's block, speechlessness, doubt. You know that you have to try, because if you try you might just say something. As long as some words come out, you know that nothing is lost.

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