As you may remember, when the Walrus in Lewis Carroll’s poem was ready to “talk of many things,” it was as part of an effort to “snow” the shellfish whom he had decided to consume. Though I too feel that it’s long past time to “talk of many things,” I’m not trying to snow you, my readers, only trying to offer up an account of myself and apologize for having been so lax in posting in recent days.
The fact of the matter is, there are not “many things” on my list to talk of right now. Today, I’m baking Christmas cookies and still doing some of the neverending crocheting that I’ve been doing for weeks now in order to finish a new Afghan blanket for the bed. For several days now, I’ve been reading short stories in the hopes that one will “catch fire” in my imagination and give me a topic I really want to share with you (though this effort has been to little or no avail). I have Christmas cards to get out in the mail, and I need to review the instructions for how to tie-dye tee shirts, since that’s one of my Christmas surprises for some dearly loved children in my family. But even given these things, there’s a paucity of “topic” revolving in my brain; to put it more simply, I’m drawing a blank.
There are also other writing projects that are pressing up around my throat and refusing to get done at the same time (and that is a horribly mixed metaphor, for which I’m trying not to be held responsible). I have two novels going at once right now, but both are in the stalled position. Talk about writer’s block! I’ve never had such a bad case of it before that I can recall. Yes, I’m still kvetching and whinging and chuntering on about my lack of inspiration (I love words for “complaining” and “whining”–they’re so descriptive! Maybe the only things that aren’t blocked off right now are my “complaining” words!). “Kvetching,” as I understand it, is Yiddish from Russia; “whinging,” to rhyme with “singeing,” is from the Anglo-Saxon; and “chuntering on” is a general synonym from dialectal English of the Cockney variety. Anybody else know any more, I’m collecting them, rather in the way other people collect butterflies, to put pins in the ones of their own personal acquaintance?!?
The only remotely creative thing I’ve done in the last week is a poem, out of the blue, which is too raw and bad and personal to share (no, nothing will persuade me that I should, I’m not hinting to be begged). And I haven’t even been writing poetry for a year or three now–go figure! At this moment, I’m actually feeling very guilty about using my blog as a way of expressing frustration that as far as I know has no immediate solution–I mean, if I were working out a way of getting out of my dilemma, then I could forgive myself, but so far today all I’m doing is letting you in on the not-very-well-kept secret that I’m having trouble working: if you’ve been following my posts for the last three weeks or so, you already know that.
The solution people in creative writing classes used to revere was to “write it out, write your way through it, just keep going until something profitable or worthwhile crops up.” It makes me wonder about the script of “The Shining.” As you’ll recall, in that movie the Nicholson character, a writer, can’t budge a writer’s block, and while he is in the process of trying by writing over and over again “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” or words to that effect, his family starts to get haunted. It causes me to speculate as to the inspiration for the movie: was the scriptwriter going through the same difficulty in trying to write the script? Perhaps drawing (a bit fantastically) on personal experience? But I would have to do research to find the answer to that question, and one aspect of writer’s block is a certain amount of accedia and laziness, so I just throw the suggestion out there for anyone else who’s got the energy to pursue the matter.
Yes, I’m acting like a spoiled child. I know it. Soon, I will begin to pull hair and drum my heels on the floor, and scream at the top of my lungs. Whoever said “Frustration is good for the soul” was way off base. But for now, I’m offering what I’ve got, and that is this post, dedicated to my loyal and trustworthy readers, who can always be counted on to say something that makes me feel ashamed of my babyishness, and vow to do better for them next time: this is where I am right now. I hope to offer you better again soon (and now I’m off to bake cookies and to try to lift my spirits with some holiday participation that may lead to those better moments). shadowoperator