It’s flu season. That must be it. It’s the only reason I can think of that, with all my verbal spewage, my creativity seems to be all blocked up. I hope it’s not a result of too much cheese (in my writing, I mean). Whatever it is, it’s starting to become painful.
Oh, sure. I can talk a good game. “Here are all the ways I’ve gotten myself out of writer’s block before because I don’t really believe in it.” My tried-and-true methods have, for some reason, failed me.
I have writer’s block.
I don’t remember the last time I sat around moping because it was Valentine’s Day. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it was probably the last time someone made me help pick out flowers or a present for someone else and said something like, “Now which do you like best? If it were you getting this, what would you want?” because you know it’s got that underlying implication: “Wow, that sucks that no one is doing anything for you because no one loves you, but would you just mind pretending for a few minutes?” You know, basically rubbing salt in a wound (perhaps after peeling back most of your skin) before slowly dipping you into acid. BUT… even that hasn’t really happened in a while (the assistant shopper part… not the salt and acid thing).
Last week I was sitting at my computer. It was somewhere around 2 a.m., and I’d been looking at that stupid blinking cursor for about an hour, but I just couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be writing. I was starting to get really tired and I asked myself, “Why does this have to be so hard sometimes?” Even as I asked it, I knew the answer. Nothing worth having is ever easy and sometimes it takes a LONG time. And then, in a feat of meta-awesomeness, I directed my thoughts at my own brain.
“And you. Why do you pull me in with all of these great ideas and make me feel like I’ve got something to work with before inexplicably turning on me and making me feel like I can’t do anything to please you?”
This went on for a little while longer whilst I wrote absolutely nothing. Just before I fell asleep, I scribbled “writing is a relationship” on a Post-It note and left it next to my computer. I fell asleep wondering what people would do if I changed my Facebook relationship status to say that I’m “in a relationship and it’s complicated.” They’d obviously ask, “With whom?” …because they all use proper grammar. “With writing,” I’d reply. Naturally, they would all assume that I’d really lost it this time. Even more so than when I created a Facebook account for my dogs.
It’s cold. I’m talking “wind chill is below zero and I keep thinking about how this time last year, I at least had Florida to look forward to” kind of cold that seems endless. Because I have no warmer climates to visit this year (although if someone else wanted to foot the bill, I probably wouldn’t decline), I’ve just been trying to imagine them in my head. Naturally, the whole desert island scenario came up for me, and I started thinking about my desert island top 5 albums.
Of course, this causes my pop culturally sensitive brain to go two places at once: first to the film High Fidelity, one of my favorite Cusack movies. How can you even consider any kind of top 5 list without thinking about that movie? Second, my brain goes to that episode of LOST when Hurley is listening to his Discman and the batteries die. That makes me wonder if the whole concept of “Desert Island Top Five Albums” is kind of dead. When I went to Ireland, I took four CDs with me and three of them were “mix tapes on disc”. But now I have an iPod and all of my music is at my disposal all the time. I wouldn’t really need to choose my top 5 albums. I’d just need to pray for an iPod battery that never dies.
Clearly I’m over-thinking this and should just get to the list. So, for technicality’s sake, here’s my list.
Last week I read this article about the correlation between writing and stress/anxiety levels. It summarized a study in which students were given the opportunity to write for ten minutes before major tests. The students who were given the time to write about their concerns and anxieties, etc., ultimately had better test scores than the students who went into the exam cold. It was then noted that writing could, indeed, be quite therapeutic.
I figured that out on my own years ago.