Laces then Bell
For years, I’ve stressed to students that there’s no such thing as ‘writer’s block’. Yeah? Okay… then what the hell is with me tonight? It’s quite easy to blame the kids, my role as a father and my responsibilities therein and of, the fact that it’s my wife’s birthday— I could just blame whatever I want.d And whomever. But no. It’s me. IT’s all on me. “The onus is on me,” as I too stress to them, the first day of every semester. Tonight’s rain does have me motivated but not enough. Why not enough? Why don’t I just write?
Poured myself another glass of the Sangiovese I bought from Whole Foods earlier, just before five, going to get my wife some flowers and a birthday card (which was really quite funny, for once), a burrito for us both. Only $14.99 for the bottle. Couldn’t believe it. And where am I going with this? Shit, I don’t know. It’s one of those nights for the writer. And no I’m not blocked, I’m just ….. at a wall, or overthinking. Something.
Watching some boxing match on HBO. I need to approach this, these pages, all of them, more competitively, with more visually pugilistic movements. Take on other writers, affirm that I am the best. But am I? There’s that doubt again. A mess, this writer tonight, but I’m writing through it, or trying. When students come to me with woes like this, what do I say?….. Seriously, what do I tell them. Can’t remember right now. OH, “Stay in the chair.” And, “If you don’t write, then nothing’s written, no story’s told.” But, I’m not a student, meaning I’m losing my youth. I’m aging. 24 days, 2 months till 37. How much longer will I be able to begin my pieces with “For years, I’ve…”? Shouldn’t think like that. This is just a mood, and it’ll pass I hope.
Need another sip of that Sangio’. Should write more about wine. And, as crazy as I’m able to muster and mold. Be a Hunter S. of wine journalism. Oh my god… these wine people wouldn’t be able to handle it. I can hear it now… “You shouldn’t say things like that… it’s a small industry.” Yeah? And I give a shit. Now I’m starting to feel like these guys on the screen, how the victor talks after the fight, confidently but not tied in defamation. Or maybe a little. No fear. I just hop into the ring ready to swing.
No rain now. Quiet. And I feel uncomfortable. I’m writing, though. I am. Me, only, refusing to look at a blank page and just do nothing. That’s the fight… That’s the rumble of writer’s block. Fear. The anxiety and apprehension accompanying the writer’s reality when confronted with the void. He has to make it into a page, something worth reading. Students often blame that blank page, citing how menacing it appears, makes them feel diminished, lowered, paralyzed. But if you do that in the ring, just freeze and in place remain, you’re with lowered lids. On the mat.
So easy to blame. It becomes addicting, if you begin down that terrible tributary. Waking up after not getting much sleep from kids, both, being either sick or just in the mood to do whatever they can for attention. Complaining and then citing what they did and how my creative inaction is a result of something they did is simply writer-death. Worse than overthinking. What I’ve learned, just write. Just keep moving. Something will come out, some idea will beam from somewhere in my character and the fight is on then to finish it. Every finished piece is a win, warrant for satisfaction with what I’ve done, maybe a bit of boasting. I’m still so much a student, the further I get into my writing days and how I tackle any attempt, be it a story or essay, even one of those poems I challenge myself to write in less than a minute. A revealing, enriching gem is there. Wait for me, I believe.
An even more incredible bargain than the bottle of Sangiovese. This is Time, experiences made mine, costing nothing, I just have to be open. Accepting of the impetus’ current and that I react to it advantageously.. I keep writing, that is a choice. I mean, I guess I could just stop, give up and say “It’s not going to happen, Mike, do something else, find another ‘passion’.” ONE, surrender or throwing in some towel is not even removedly an option. Writing is not what I do, it’s who I am. Even when I try forcing myself not to write for a while, I malfunction and scribble something. TWO, something happening isn’t much of a concern, or even at all. Something happening, like with travel for example, I’m assured is in my story. When someone says something like that, that’s from their world and from their failures, simple textbook projection. And, “passion”: this is much more than simple passion. Passion is a world people in the wine world overuse, or people having to tell you they’re passionate about something. Again, projection. It’s obvious this is a passion, but one universally elevated. You don’t just ‘find another’.
I will say, though, I implore myself to be that undefeated writer. Finishing everything, knowing where every piece is; keeping better records and knowing acutely its geography in this house. This is all on me, the journalistic onus, the creative curse of finishing books and essays or anything I initiate.
The next morning, Jackie and I wake together, after a long night of wakings and his battling the ripples of a “low-grade flu” as the doctor yesterday categorized. He’s in his world, and I in mine. He tells me to stop writing and sit with him on the couch, “In a minute, buddy,” I say. Then I notice a character flaw, losing time with him and, or, his sister from the need to finish a piece, or just simply write, be a writer
That I don’t understand, yet.