For the second time in my life—no, wait, third—I’m having a hard time writing. For someone who does not believe in writer’s block, this is a most humbling admission. And when I say I’m having a hard time writing—I should clarify. I’m still writing for money. And I’m practicing in the Morning Pages. But as you’ve seen by the long stretches of time between blog posts, not a lot more than that.
I can’t claim lack of time as the culprit. I blame it in lack of energy—the pandemic, the continuing emotional and financial adjustment to the divorce (I have to make a lot more money now and all transitions, even good ones, are draining), missing my love who moved to Toronto, still adjusting to the demands and rhythms of my new job…
Lots of legit reasons, but, really, they’re also all just excuses. Clearly, right now, I don’t want to write enough… or I don’t know, I can’t sell myself on the purpose of writing.
My five years of trying to make it as a novelist battered me financially and weren’t that great on my ego either. Why should I pour myself into another novel that nobody will notice or read? That thing I did at work yesterday potentially affected 250,000 people, maybe more.
If you write a book and nobody reads it, does it really exist?
(The answer is No. No, it does not.)
I’ve been in this place twice before and what got me out the first time was a lover, Julia Cameron, an encounter with a practicing, hard-working artist, and a story that I HAD to write.
The second time, it was sheer will. The therapist said, “Could you consider that part of your problem is that you identify with your work too much?” And I said, “Fuck you, bitch, if I don’t write, I don’t exist,” and I went home and wrote three novellas.
The third time… well, I’ll keep you posted. I’m leaning on Vladimir Nabokov and Ursula K. LeGuin right now, but that might be a mistake. He’s a genius and she’s brilliant, and I am ordinary. I’m not downplaying my talents: I write well. I’m funny. I’m creative. Other things.
But nothing in my head or soul will ever produce something as ground breaking as Pale Fire or The Left Hand of Darkness.
Maybe it’s time, again, to lean on Julia. Go on a solo artist date, and make that a weekly ritual again.
Write a bad poem, send it to one of my loves.
Julia, she’s a lot like me: talented, insightful, with stories to tell and a deep understanding of the bones of writing and creativity.
But also, ordinary.
Over the past six months, I’ve led an intensely ordinary life. A Monday to Friday job, children, dogs, friends. No grand events, goals or aspirations—no chasing dreams, tearing pockets of time out of life with my teeth and claws for art.
Just doing the everyday, very ordinary things.
I’ve been… content.
Life is much easier this way.
Do you see why I’m reluctant to return to the edge again?
Easier, but, but… if it goes on like this much longer, I will cease to exist.
What do I need to do?