Thursday, August 20, 2009
Philadelphia, my old friend Hank used to say, has not been good for my writing. It was the closest he could to come to saying he had hit that horrible point in every writer's life where he or she feels uninspired, worn down, blown out on the tracks. Nobody in our circle ever copped to writer's block; we all knew the score. Writers write, they don't wait for the muse or inspiration. That was the playground for our students whose frequent excuse for not turning in stories and poems was often delivered in a whine -- "I can't write unless I'm in the mood." I spent a lot of time in cheerleader mode with this type -- "You can do it! Take a few minutes a day. Listen to music. Light candles."
Hank took a different tack. "Fucking hell, Michelle, you're not running a day spa. It's not sex. You don't have to be in the mood." Instead, he was the bad cop, telling them that they couldn't make it up and that was that. For our own parts, we both struggled in our respective cities with money problems, lack of time, endless winter, and the exhaustion that comes from landing somewhere far from where you started. I still don't believe in writer's block, per se, but I do believe that you go through phases in your writing life, some better than others. So I ask you, dear reader, what is your favorite writing strategy for getting through the hard times?
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The truth is: I never understood anyone's messages. Only the ocean existed." Pablo Neruda
Drinking poetry suggestion: some Anne Sexton for the end of summer, I think!
Benedictions and Maledictions
Look for my review of Stink this afternoon!