Writer’s Blah   Leave a comment

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I think we can all agree that life sucks on occasion.

Right now, I’m feeling about as grey as the picture above, my inspiration gone out with the tide. For reasons I won’t go into, once again, I find myself in a situation I hadn’t expected. As Nora Ephram’s mother famously told her, “Everything is copy,” That only works if you can turn that situation into a script.

So far, no dice. I can’t seem to wrest any collection of words from my brain.

Is it writer’s block? Absolutely not. I’d say it’s more like writer’s blah. I just can’t get excited about writing these days. And it’s killing me.

But hey, I’m coming up with some words for this now, aren’t I?

The other day, a writer pal I hadn’t heard from in quite some time dropped me a line. Asked what’s up and all that. Without going into all the boring details, I recited a washed-over summary of the dreariness invading my mental turf.  Gave the Gloomy Gus routine. Then I was set straight. That pal’s father had been killed recently and attached a newspaper article regarding his death.

Words failed me, but this time it was out of shock, sadness for my friend…and perspective.

Pal said the best therapy lies in the ability to wash out the living world and replace it with the fresh canvas a writer creates. It’s a place one easily loses oneself, especially when life’s events spin out of control. Those words are who we choose to be. There’s good company in the characters, even if you’re spinning their plot. They do appreciate it and will reward you with a story, if you stick around long enough.

And it’s not like I haven’t tried. I entered two short stories in a flash fiction contest. I thought they were brilliant. The editors believed otherwise. I didn’t win. But as every writer knows, rejections are a badge of honor. No one’s legit unless they pile up a a moving van’s worth. Receiving those cheered me up some. Now I had something to talk about…but not write.

So this weekend my sister and I planned to sell boxes of ungifted gifts my late mother never seemed to give. That, and the millions of other doodads she felt too compelled to keep over the span of her eighty-four years. We’d do Saturday and Sunday at the busy flea market nearby. Went to bed early and rose to a nasty storm with gale-force winds. The prospect of expecting to sell anything, including the idea of getting dressed and hawking in that misery, evaporated.

My computer often accompanies me, though I don’t always use it. It’s like a security blanket, ready, willing and able to help me get on with my writing, should I be up for the mission. My sister knew those typing fingers of mine seemed stuck in neutral, unable to rev up to speed. Over breakfast, as she dug into her oatmeal, she said between munches, “Why don’t you write today? Can’t do much of anything else. Too miserable.”

Oh, sounds so pleasing, so simple, so…so…oh, what’s the word again?

I opened the laptop and scanned the pages of my second novel that’s well in the works. Been so long, though, since I mustered up the strength to write I pretty much forgot half the plot. Once I got into it, though, the characters shook off their dust, revived their motives and jumped back into action. Pretty soon, I changed a word here, tightened up a sentence there, and before you know it, I ended up at the end…of where I left off. The wind lashed at the window and howled like crazy, but none of that distracted me. I managed to squeeze out at least four good pages before dinner.

At the crack of black undawn, my sister and I threw ourselves into the car and headed out to the flea market. The storm passed, so we headed out. Managed to wrestle two splintered grey tables (just like my moods of late) and set up shop. A parade of plot lines passed by, any one of them the makings for good stories. Even the guy next to us told good copy. If nothing else, flea markets are fodder for inspiration. Literally one of everything strolls down the lanes. Between 7:30 – 8:30 am, a Native American chatted to the person’s table across from us, a corpulent sixty-ish woman with stringy long auburn hair and stars tattooed to her browline remarked over a crucifix we had for sale, a Jimi Hendrix lookalike wandered over with his entourage of equally interesting partners, several dogs in baby strollers pushed by “parents,” and a persistent Chinese woman insisting on paying $1 for a lead crystal vase selling for $10 (she didn’t get it). And more, of course, but you get the idea.

When I came home, I sat and opened my computer, intending to pick up where I left off. For some odd reason, none of the four pages I wrote saved. I dropped my head in my hands, cursing. I sighed, shook my head and laughed. Typical.

Once more, I began to write. And this time, it was good.

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