Friday, September 24, 2010

Writer's Block

The title of this blog post seems to sum up how blogging has gone for me this past month. As soon as I decided on a title for this post, I found myself thinking “now, how can you have writer’s block if you’re not really a writer? And if you’re not writing, you’re CERTAINLY not a writer!” Long ago in my college and post-college days, when I kept a journal religiously, I knew the maxim, to be a writer and to improve one’s writing, you must write!

And so I did: anxious ruminating on the status of my various relationships; painstaking poetry; impassioned prose. None of it was very good, but it wasn’t all terrible either. Some of it pleased me, and all of it served a necessary purpose in speeding process of growing up.

I have no dearth of topics to write about now, but I manage to talk myself out of almost all of them. They occur to me, and I even make lists of them, but there the lists sit, with no accompanying piece of writing as their result.

Here are some of the topics that have occurred to me recently, yet are left unwritten:

1.     1.   Lee’s grandmother, Nellie Schnell, left a wonderful oral history on a tape recorder before she passed away, and recently my mother-in-law had it transcribed to DVD. I’ve thought about writing about Granny, as she was known, and maybe sometime I will.

2.      2.  My garden:  the flowers, tomatoes, eggplants and single pumpkin, have given me no end of pleasure this summer. Summer in New England is unbelievably beautiful; verdant and green, everything is in a hurry to grow and produce. Now summer is turning into fall and the leaves are beginning to turn. The hummingbirds have left and the bees are slow and cranky. We’ve even had a fire in the fireplace a few chilly mornings. I should be taking pictures in the gorgeous light and recording all these climatic changes. And Maybe I Will Sometime.

3.      3.  Then there’s my running. Oh I could certainly write about running (and I Probably Will, Very Soon!)! The marathon I’ve been training for all spring and summer is a week from Sunday. The knowledge of what a challenge this will be for me has me humbled and sincerely wondering if I have bitten off more than I can chew. Although I would dearly love to make my estimated time of 5.5 hours, I will be pleased and relieved to run it in less than 6 so that I am allowed to finish and not pulled off the course. From my training I KNOW I can run it (by walking 2/3rds of it) in 6.5 hours. But, can I maintain an average pace of 12:36 minutes per mile? The training says I should be able to, and maybe even better, but until I’m getting close to the end I don’t think I will really know. It’s hard to explain the angst I feel about this run, and it’s probably impossible to convey to anyone who hasn’t trained for a marathon. I know that until I began this process I certainly thought that 26 miles seemed like a ridiculous distance to run, let along walk. Now that the distance has become something concrete and real, it still seems ridiculous, but nevertheless I’m going to attempt it.

4.       4. And then of course, there’s the reason I’m sitting here at my computer in St. Louis. My 40th High School Reunion is tomorrow night. I’m alternately looking forward to it and having little moments of panic. Of course I’ll write about it too, but I can’t until after it occurs! Can I? Maybe I’ll just write about it now, and skip the whole thing. Oh I guess not.
5.     5.  Then there the books I’ve recently read, the latest class I’m taking on Ulysses, the movies I’ve watched, the latest episode of Madmen where Peggy tells off a nascent boyfriend and takes a circa 1964 stand for feminism…I COULD write about all these things…I could!

So what’s the deal with writer’s block anyway? Do I really have it, if I can sit here and create a blog post ABOUT it? Beats me! I think for me it’s more like what happens when I get sick of a needlework project. There it sits, reproaching me with its almost finished state, reminding me of my lack of discipline and organization. So it is with this blog. I feel like I’ve abandoned it and my readership (if such a thing even exists).

So, I guess this post is a bit like forcing me to pick up that piece of needlework and complete a few more rows, before putting it down again, admonishing myself to do a little bit more each day. The only thing is a blog is never finished, is it?


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