Tag Archives: writer’s block

Stupid fortune

 

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Which one are you?

I made up these little bags of inspiration and handed them out at my writers group this week.

They are loaded with things a writer needs like a mini notebook, tea, chocolate and mints, which are supposed to stimulate brain activity.

I also included in each bag a piece of Mookaite Jasper, a crystal that promotes creativity.

I challenged everyone to think positively about their writing and writing goals as we start 2017. We talked about keeping a gratitude journal to stay in a positive frame of mind.

And here I sit. Stuck.

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Ugh.

“Begin … the rest is easy.” That was my fortune from New Year’s Eve. It’s sitting here on my desk. Every once in awhile it disappears beneath a pile of papers, but it always surfaces, mocking me with its overly simplistic advice.

“I already knew that,” I say to the fortune. I glare at the small, smug strip of white paper.

White like a priest’s robe.

It sits there absorbing the red lasers shooting from my eyeballs. It taunts me with its exaggerated stoicism.

“I’ll begin anytime I want,” I say. “I’m the boss of me. Not you. You’re just a scrap of paper. Made in China.”

Still nothing. The fortune is quiet as a ninja. I assume it’s deep in meditation on the meaning of life or how to best piss off a stuck writer

“I’m not ready yet, stupid fortune,” I say.

The fortune sits patiently, waiting for me to begin.

* * *

Wishing you all great success in 2017!

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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.

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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.

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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?

Writer’s block

images[8]I’ve got a serious case of writer’s block.

I have four or five memoir chapters started.  They just need to be fleshed out, tightened up and polished to a high-gloss shine.

Last weekend, I gave myself a deadline.  I would pick one of the unfinished chapters and complete it by Monday night.  I would then send it out to my critique buddies for their input.

I write for a living, so the deadline thing — even a self-imposed one — carries weight in my world.

I picked a chapter and started toying around with it.  But every time that I sat down to write, I just couldn’t find the words to say what it was that I wanted to say.

Monday’s deadline came and went.  The chapter remains unfinished.

Here’s what I’m writing about:

I am in college and unaware of my attraction to women.  I’m about 21 years. 

A group of us are walking around in the town that borders our college campus.  It’s a rainy Sunday morning and we’re looking for someplace to grab a bite to eat.

As we’re wandering around town, I am drawn to a girl across the street.  Her back is to me.  She’s wearing blue jeans.  I can’t take my eyes off her backside.  Her rear end is tight and curvy and there’s just something about it that has me captivated.  (C’mon, ladies, you know what I’m talking about.)  I am oblivious to everything else around me.

My friend breaks my focused concentration.

“Do you think you can stare any harder at that girl’s ass?” she asks.

Of course, I deny looking at the posterior of the girl standing across the street.  I say that I was looking at something else.  You must be a weirdo for thinking that I was looking at a girl let alone a girl’s ass.  This is the story I tell my friend.  And myself.

So, those are the facts.  I’m struggling with describing what I saw, what attracted me, how I felt inside.

I mentioned this to a friend the other night.  She said it made sense that I was having a hard time “feeling” this incident.  It was a time in my life that I was repressing my feelings and there was certainly shame surrounding those feelings.

She gave me some tips on how to break through this block and look at the situation in a different way.

I’ve been thinking about what she said and how to approach this chapter in a different way.

I did a bit of free writing yesterday morning and came up with a few ideas, but it certainly wasn’t a rush of thoughts and emotions.

I was still thinking about the chapter as I showered.  Trying to put myself back in that place at that time.  Trying to remember what it was like to be young and different but not know why.  I could feel the tears welling up.

A few tears mixed in with the water from the shower.  But the floodgates never opened.

It’s been more than 30 years, and I’m still holding it all inside.