The Pen at the End of the Block

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Write.  Just Write.  Write on.  Is this what we’re reduced to when fighting the symptoms of writer’s block?  Do these cheap, motivational mind tricks actually work for anybody?  “Let me try to describe this orange.  It’s round.  It’s orange. It has a bunch of crater-like dents in it, known as ‘orange peel.’ When you squeeze the peel, some orange essential oil squirts out.  It stings if it gets in your eyes.”  Are you kidding me? This isn’t writer’s block; it’s stupidity and boredom.   

We never stop thinking do we?  Do we get “thought block?”

A writer has to please him or herself first, by describing something in a unique way.  Seinfeld may have had it right.  Sometimes less is more.  Sometimes nothing is the best approach.  A writer’s job is to pick out little isolated elements of life or fantasy and assemble them in a way that entertains someone on some level. 

I’m with my daughter right now, at her swim class.  There are five little swimmers in the pool.  I see three parents, plus me, watching their kids.  One of the parents is sitting outside the pool area in the snack bar section.  He’s sitting alone on a bar stool, no snacks, looking at his kid through the glass.  He looks bored, but that might just be the way he looks; I don’t know him.  One of the moms is putting on makeup.  She does this every week.  I’m not a woman, nor do I wear makeup; but I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t pick this humidity filled swimming area to do it.  One guy is playing with his cell phone.  I don’t get very good reception in here, so I can only assume that he has a different cell carrier than I do.

My daughter finishes her lap and looks up at me.  We smile.  I like this.  It gives me a good feeling inside that, as a writer, I should be able to describe in better detail.  The day will come when my daughter will no longer look to me for that glance of support with that reassuring smile.  Because of that I’ve got to take the time now to see it, feel it, experience it and write about it.  I don’t have time to deal with writer’s block.  Life’s too short. 


Britton Minor October 17, 2010 at 6:17 AM  

This is beautifully written, and such a good reminder to be present with our children. At Legoland recently I had the sad misfortune (or fortuitous reminder) to keep seeing the same dad on different rides with his four-ish year old son: Not once did I see him lift his eyes from his I-Phone...Thanks for being there for your children. Our world will be a better place because of you.

Ellen October 18, 2010 at 8:50 PM  

So true.

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