A Touch Of Writers’ Block? Itchy With Procrastination? Not To Worry. All Roads Lead To Rome. Eventually.
Here’s the thing about posting once a week: first you have to write something. No write, no post. Usually ideas ricochet around my head. Me! Me! Use Me! Not this week. Maybe they’re on vacation. Or sleeping in. Or on strike.
OK. Let’s see. Hmmmm. Surely there’s more to milk from our trip to the UK. For instance. People there are so well spoken, so droll, so understated. The national ethos is reflected in business names and public notices. “Keep Edinburgh clean. Bin your trash!”
“I’m from the States. I’ve never seen “bin” used as a verb before!” I exclaim to the rain-coated older lady standing under the bus shelter with this exhortation running along the roof rim. She looks at me politely. Too politely. I smile broadly and tip my chin up at the writing above her head, then step back to point and shoot.
She looks up. “Ah!”
“Mind you,” she lilts in a beautiful Scots accent, with a twinkle in her eye. “There’s not a bin to be found anywhere up or down this street!”
OK, good start. Now what?
Nothing. I want to grab my brain and shake it: Wake up! Ordinarily, the first idea ignites a second, which sparks a third, and so on, the writing rushing forward like a brush fire. I resist feeling discouraged. I must be patient. Receptive. Something will come.
Meanwhile, I refill my coffee cup (Ahhh!), check my e-mail (junk), and check my webmeister for comments to my last post (none). Dingblong!
- L: Hi D!
O happy day! My friend Lorraine on IM!
- D: Hey! What are you up to?
- L: Breakthrough! Took a risk and posted a poem I just wrote. Inspired by EverythingsShiny’s walk along the Great Wall.
EverythingsShiny is my friend David. Wait till he hears this!!
- D: Wow! Good for you!
I go to my Favorites, click on FourSeasFourSuns and read the poem, the current post. Beautiful! Dingblong!
- L: How’s it going with you?
- D: Trouble writing.
- L: You? Really?
- D: Sigh.
- L: Hate that.
- D: I’m days late meeting my weekly deadline.
What if I let myself off the hook and don’t post this week? ShrinkU is hardly The New Yorker. Well, so what? When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Necessity is the mother of invention. Anything that can go wrong, will. Dingblong!
- L: Don’t make the blog a burden D.
- D: Thanks for that! You’re the best.
- L: Takes one to know one.
So…. If I can’t write a post, how can I post without writing? A cartoon light bulb switches on above my head: Idea!
- D: L-- Would you like to guest post for me?! Anything you like.
- L: Sure!
I get by with a little help from my friends. I feel light as dandelion fluff.
- D: I owe you one! Suddenly, I want to write.
- L: Me too!
I reread the Bin story. I wait impatiently for…. Nothing. What is going on? Are all circuits down? Wait! A flicker…. That fab and kitschy vintage clothing store in Edinburgh floats across my mind’s eye. And the price tag on the used leather jacket (that didn’t fit me): “40 pounds.” Forty pounds!? Why so cheap? I turn the tag over: “Wee rip.”
OK, charming. What next?
I wait expectantly. And wait some more. I read Bin and Wee Rip back to back. Will bumping them against each other in the dark bring forth new life? Not today.
That sexy human eater Self Pity beckons with an impeccably manicured index finger. Come to me Darling.... I resist, reminding myself: Wallowing is NOT attractive, not to anybody, but especially the Muse. Dingblong!
Saved! By— Speak of the devil! David! IMing from Korea.
- D: Hi! You’re online late
- David: It’s 11:30 at night here.
- D: Sept 1, going into Sept 2?
- David: Yes. Thirteen hours ahead of you. I know the future!!!
- D: Do tell. Have I put up a new post?
- David: You're always living in the past, D!
- D: Hey! Not always. Great news! You got some link love!
- David: Really?
- D: You've inspired a poet.
- David: I’m speechless. It’s been ages since I’ve posted.
- D: Pressure’s on. More please!
- David: I will try hard to write again.
- D: Or try easy, whichever works.
- David: Ha!
- D: Too funny! This repartee is the perfect antidote to the discouragement of not-writing today’s draft. Well, you can’t start a fire with a wet match. I give up. For now. Maybe I’ll look over a rant from a few days ago.
- David: Go for it.
- D: Or maybe I’ll do the Eight Treasures. Why stop procrastinating? I seem to be on a roll. hee hee hee
- David: Write about procrastination.
- D: You ARE a genius.
I sign off chuckling. Witty exchanges via IM (and texting) are soooo amusing, nourishing, and creatively stimulating. I chortle some more: Why stop procrastinating indeed? I log in to my blogmeister and check for comments (still none). Check my e-mail (still junk). But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the sun of RSS feeds with new posts. I read a few. Compose and post a humorous comment to one that fed and watered me. OK! The funny bone and writing muscles feel nice and limber. I pull up the rant and my cell phone rings.
It’s the office. My first patient cancelled. I start an hour later. Yay! Time! Glorious time! To noodle. Forget the rant. I start roughing out this post. And— O frabjous day! Calloo! Callay! Finish it!
My writing process, such as it is, consists of a lot of noodling, procrastinating, dawdling and avoiding.” Amy Bloom, Where The God Of Love Hangs Out.
Photos of Edinburgh by Yours Truly