Image by Lukas Bieri from Pixabay
Not for the first time in the two decades that I’ve been writing, I whistle but the words would not come. Writer’s block—it has happened before, sure. But never this bad and never this long. It’s as if an expansive blankness has covered everything around me. The senses have dulled and the self has been rendered vacant. The dullness is near-impenetrable. The silence is deafening.
The truth is I have grown accustomed to the mind’s voice and its unstoppable chatter. Its constant narration of the everything of the every day, its rehashing of old conversations after finally finding a good comeback, its self-righteous monologue about something I saw on TV, its existential whinging. My mind is far more verbose than my convoluted prose, but it did let me pull strands of thought ready and ripe for weaving.
Many a night it has woken me from deep sleep, saying, Get up! I have an idea and you need to write it down. Naturally, I would shush it with a pill or smush it with a pillow. Die, die, I would grumble. Those days I felt I needed the shut-eye more than the sound-off. But even as I slipped into the stream of sleep, the mind’s low susurrations became the soundtrack of my slumber. Now, there is nothing. Well, next to nothing.
The ideas still arrive promptly and regularly enough. Insistently enough. Barging into the consciousness, teeming with self-importance. Half-formed but still dazzling with tremendous possibility. Their uncontrollable wildness is a lure, and I do so desire to wrangle them and tame them, to fashion them into something shiny to dress the ego’s mantel. But no sooner have my eyes adjusted to their light, their forms crumble into fine, fine dust. Dust, dust, and nothing but dust. No amount of coaxing and maneuvering could form anything of substance from this wretched dust.
Oh, if it were only up to me, I would give up chasing my dreams of writing. This compulsion for literary creation. If it were up to me, I would take this barren landscape and grow more productive fruit. Turn to business, make money, be content with a hobby. Read without feeling the familiar itch to also make something of value. But I am far too miserable when I’m not writing. I can’t sit still. I can’t sleep. I’m compelled to keep trying—even if it means penning a long and winding (whining) piece On Writer’s Block.