Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Into the gaps.

Millions of people have fallen into the gaps between words and were never seen again.
--Andrei Codrescu

I am one of the fortunate few who have never experienced writer's block. Lucky me.

Or so you would think. Except that writing can be really hard work.

Now, don't get all excited--I know it's not hard like picking cotton. But if you pick cotton for a living, you can walk out into the field occasionally and tell yourself, "You know, I didn't sleep all that well last night, and I just don't think I can bring my A game today. I think I'm just going to take it a little easier--not try and fill the bag all the way to the top."

But I haven't found a way to say, "Man, I'm pooped. I'm just barely going to write today." The very same amount of energy is expended whether one writes really good, insightful stuff, or good-grief-you're-boring-me-tears stuff. Even the stuff that sucks is hard to write.

And just because I don't get blocked doesn't mean I never have problems filling the page. I get bored with the subject matter. Sometimes I get sleepy (apparently, my own insights aren't intriguing enough to me to keep me from falling into the keyboard). Lots of times, I just get sick of the sound of my own voice, ricocheting around inside my head. And--this happens to me a lot--there are times when I just can't lay my hands on that one word I need to finish the thought. And it's almost always a really simple, mono-syllabic word. (Common side effect of addiction to big, impressive, I-went-to-college words--the loss of basic words needed in everyday conversation.) I'm trapped in literary limbo until I can get into the shower (which, for some strange reason frees everything up, at least for me).

And then there are the many physical demands. For instance, did you know that it is actually possible to sit with your head in your hands at the computer table until your elbows become as dry and cracked as a camel's knees? Or that you can sit at the keyboard for so long that when you do stand up, you look like a question mark? It is even possible, I am embarrassed to admit, to run over your own foot with the caster of your chair WHILE YOU ARE SITTING IN SAID CHAIR.

Anyway, that's what I mean by it being really hard work. So don't envy me, just because I've never been blocked.

I've never been blocked, but I've got some scary-ass elbows.

3 comments:

Lisa said...

I think I remember seeing someone run over their own foot once. It's a dangerous job that you have.

H.M.G said...

Hey Jane, if you're working for your magazine, I'd consider a workers' compensation claim the next time you flattened your foot -- I mean you can never be too careful at work. And the whole body in the form of a question mark issue might be the new repetitive motion claim. Just food for thought.

Jane who? said...

Apparently, I have a difficult time remembering that my foot is attached to me whether I am on the clock or not. Therefore, I suspect that this particular injury may be classified as a pre-existing condition.