To write or not to write

I feel like I’ve hit a wall.

My flannel is wrinkled.

The spikes in my hair are flat.

I don’t want to write any more.  At least not right now.  Not today.  That’s for sure.

I am more content watching TV shows and movies or reading books.  Allowing words and images to wash over me instead of coaxing or forcing them out from that tricky place that’s part heart, part soul.


Movie poster of my life.

Part of me says it’s not ok.  Writers write.  If I’m not writing, I’m not a writer.

The other part says take a break.  Even if I’m not writing, I’m storing words and thoughts for future use.

Here’s some of what I’ve been watching and reading:

Sons of Anarchy — W started watching this biker drama.  I read somewhere that SOA is based on Hamlet and that got this English major’s juices flowing.  So, yeah, it’s well written and well acted, and I like trying to figure out the parallels to the Shakespearean tragedy.  There’s a couple of minor lesbian storylines, but this one is all about the boys and their bikes.  Look for cameos from Stephen King, 70s hottie Adrienne Barbeau and Jimmy Smits.  And appearances by Venus Van Dam, the show’s transgender character.

Women of Will — Speaking of Shakespeare, I saw this play at a local Shakespeare festival last weekend.  Really, it’s part play, part lecture.  Master Shakespearean actor Tina Packer deconstructs the Bard’s most famous female characters with the help of fellow actor Nigel Gore.  Is it wrong that I was hoping for a sexy scene between perchance Lady Macbeth and Queen Gertrude?  Here’s the question I asked myself right before the show began: How do I relate any of this to my writing?  Five minutes in, Packer was riffing on the role of gender in Shakespeare and how Will’s female characters changed as his perceptions about women evolved.  Gender.  Can we ever get a break?

The Guilt Trip — In this cheesy comedy, Seth Rogen takes a cross-country road trip with his over-involved Mom, played by Barbra Streisand.  There are some genuine laughs, but I especially enjoyed the running gag of this mother-son duo listening to the audio version of Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex throughout the trip.  Because gender.  There it is again.


She’s hot!

Lucy — Scarlett Johansson plays a young woman exposed to a synthetic drug that allows her to access 100 percent of her brain and develop cool superhero-like powers.  “She’s hot!” W blurted out at the beginning of the movie, allowing all of us to read her thought bubble.  It was some kind of auto-Johansson response.  No doubt ScarJo is a looker with those blue eyes and blonde locks.  But I was hoping for something a little campier.  In the end though, what’s not to like about a beautiful babe kicking ass.

Bad Words — Jason Bateman finds a loophole in a spelling bee competition and creates a scene as he takes out the school-age competitors one by one.  I like when Bateman plays assholes.  See Juno.  Oh, and words.  There were lots of big words.  And a scene with boobs.

A Most Wanted Man — Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a German spy in this John le Carre thriller.  It’s Seymour Hoffman’s last starring role.  As the credits rolled, W and I just looked at each other.  Sigh.  How sad.

The Best Nonrequired American Reading 2013 — Short stories, lists, poems, cartoons, all in one book.  An eclectic collection.  I read this every year.

* * *

What about you?  What are you watching/reading this summer?

11 responses to “To write or not to write

  1. I know what you mean about that wall. For me, it feels at times like a fence I sit. Do I write? Don’t I write? That is the question. And so often, when I need to, I can’t – the words just won’t flow. That’s sort of the space I’m in right now. And it’s an uncomfortable place to be. Sort of like sitting in a sauna during a scorching summer day. Which is what my daily grind feels like f’reals, given the hideously high temps this summer has brought to my part of the planet.

    To answer your questions:

    I am reading Three New Deals by Wolfgang Schivelbusch. It’s a comparative study and a stark reminder. So often there is an ‘immaculate conception’ misconception about how a nation arrives at its current state. It’s a bit troubling. How easily history is forgotten; how sadly it is repeated.

    As for viewing… I’ve recently ordered season three of the TV show “Monk” on DVD, and while I’m waiting for it to arrive, I am watching… Old movies. While sprawled on the couch with my spouse and the cat, eating stove-popped popcorn with real butter and salt. 🙂 (And drinking gallons of ice water to be comfortable and beat the heat.) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – the original, with Danny Kaye… John Wayne’s El Dorado… North By Northwest… That sort of thing. Good old-fashioned escapism is a cool way to spend hot summer’s night. 🙂

    • I guess we wait it out, Feve. I just realized this morning that I have editing and other writing-related work to do, so maybe I’ll focus on that right now.

      Nothing better than eating popcorn — the good stuff — and watching the classics.

      I hope your muse returns before too long. Maybe she’s just laying low and trying to stay cool, too.

  2. When you gotta stop, you gotta stop.

    • That’s it? No philosophical waxing? Or are you played out, too?

      • Who says that isn’t philosophical? 🙂 I just stopped a couple’a months ago, for no apparent reason, and then for another unapparent reason, started again.
        I don’t believe the need to write ever goes away, it just likes to take a holiday every now and then.

      • You’re right. I guess philosophical merit is in the eye of the beholder.

        And breaks are good. We all need them.

        Glad to hear you are writing again.

  3. I’m reading The Unwinding by George Packer (about the economic downturn and its affect on ordinary Americans), and have Masha Gessen’s Words Will Break Cement as my back up. I mostly read non-fiction.

  4. Reblogged this on de Frémancourt and commented:
    a fine wee poem I can very well relate to, most of the time….

  5. First, I have to point out that you are writing because you wrote this blog post. Just sayin’.
    As for me, I have not written much in ages. Camp NaNoWriMo was a bust. Only did 3,000 some odd words out of the proposed 10,000 and it was more planning then anything. No blog posts in months (did rough drafts but that’s as far as they went). I have been reading like a fiend (which is my usual procrastination tactic). I just finished eight books of a kick-ass female spy series. Diane Henders’ “Never Say Spy” series. Have to wait until 2015 for the next book. We did take the family to see “Two Gentlemen of Verona” earlier in the summer which was wonderful. Was curious about “Women of Will”. Would loved to have seen “Two Men and a Tenor”. As for TV…I’m a big PBS fan and we have hit a bit of a lull. Been filling the gap in with Mike Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs”, a few episodes of HBO’s “Rome” series…and “Top Gear”. We did see “Guardians of the Galaxy” in the theater last night. It was so much fun! Haven’t enjoyed a movie like that in a long time.

    I’ve been feeling so uncreative lately. Probably because the kids are home for the summer and my daughter has two high school classes to make up this summer. I’ve been keeping her on track. Maybe my brain will get into gear come September.

    • Ok, so yes, a blog post qualifies as writing. And I’m doing my work writing. Because money. It’s the other stuff that seems too hard right now. Although I do feel the chokehold of writer’s block/malaise easing up.

      The spy series sounds interesting. Did you see Two Gentlemen of Verona up at DeSales?

      Was thinking of taking the kids to see Guardians of the Galaxy this week.

      School starts up in a few weeks. Maybe you’ll have better luck with your writing then. Every time I go in a store, I grin real big when I see the back-to-school supplies.

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