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Keeping the Faith

CAN'T REMEMBER HOW PENS WORK. (Photo by Eden Kennedy)

Oh, friends, I am stuck. Trapped in Writer’s Purgatory. No ideas. No inspiration. No ability to write complete sentences. Send help!

It’s been going on for weeks, now. I start sentences and delete them; I pace around and sit and then jump up to pace some more. I decide to simply jot down thirty ideas, whatever comes out, la la la, because surely that will give me something. But no! I have nothing. NOTHING! Everything rings hollow and false as soon as I write it down. My shoulders are killing me, probably because I’ve been keeping them up around my ears. I’ve been snapping at my husband and son and pets. I stalk around the apartment, banging cabinets open and inhaling all the snacks. I am a delight.

I used to despair when I got this blocked. Oh, who am I kidding–I still despair. I’m despairing! I am trying, however, not to despair with quite as much gusto as I once did. Because  when you go through this enough times, you begin to notice a pattern. And mine is this: I tend to feel blank and used up and terrible just before a burst of productivity and a breakthrough or two. I get frustrated and then more frustrated and just when I’m about to start screaming, something happens. So. Maybe that will happen this time. Maybe something’s going on, in this brain of mine. Maybe it’s not ready for me to gain access to it yet.

This may seem insane, but I like to believe it because it gives me comfort so shut it. Also, it’s happened before. I’m not crazy for once!

It’s a lot like when your kid is going through a developmental shift. If you’re a parent, you’ve seen it happen: every so often, your formerly beloved child becomes increasingly difficult–not sleeping, emotional, grouchy, irrational, near-psychotic–and you find yourself fighting with him over the tightness of his shoelaces or why his milk is too cold.  It escalates to the point that you’re baffled and considering calling the authorities. And then one day you wake up, and lo and behold, the storm has passed. Your infant is crawling; your toddler is stacking blocks like a pro; your ten-year-old is whipping up a batch of crepes and asking you if you want extra foam on your latte.

But until that day comes, you’re stuck with a crazy-ass kid, and what can you do? You buckle down, exchange hushed words with your spouse and similarly tortured friends, try not to take it personally, and hope for the best.

So that’s what I’m doing, here. My brain is an unruly toddler, and everything will make sense again, someday. I just have to wait it out. Are any of you in the same place? Want to come and huddle with me? Come. Join me in my blanket fort.

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