Thursday, July 30, 2009

That's All She Wrote

I love to say I have writer’s block, because that implies I’m a writer. It also excuses the years in which writing was absent from my life altogether.

Come to think of it, I developed writer’s block at a very young age, perhaps as young as four, which I believe qualifies me as a child protégé.

With few exceptions, this block accompanied me through most of adolescence and well into the teen-aged years. I did become a poet at age 16, and continued on with no encouragement at all, demonstrating my great strength of character. These early poems also show tremendous focus, as all were about boys.

The muse of writer’s block paid me another long visit, this happened after college. It sat on my shoulder while I wrote technical and corporate manuals. While I wrote checks. With a block this lengthy and impenetrable, I see myself joining Dickens on the prolific spectrum, with him on the teeter, me on the totter.

So the twenty novels I didn’t write dealt with, of course, the eternal issues. Love in the time of swine flu; the struggle of man to find meaning and morality in a godless universe.

I was going to say the benign indifference of the universe, but Camus already gobbled up that phrase. Ever notice how all the good phrases are gone? “..borne back ceaselessly into the past.” I could have written that. Unfortunately, writers are a greedy lot, especially the dead ones, using up all the resources without a thought for how we’re supposed to write a whole book with the meager combinations that remain. With the scraps they left behind.


  1. I'm going to guess that "..borne ceaslessly into the past..." is Fitgerald.

    I'm also going to guess that this marks the first appearance of both "The muse of writer’s block paid me another long visit" and "I see myself joining Dickens on the prolific spectrum, with him on the teeter, me on the totter."

    Worth the wait in both cases.

    Very funny.

  2. Yikes! I was worried this was a sign-off post. Good thing I was wrong--

  3. You taught a muse to sit on your shoulder? I'm still training mine to use the litter box.


  4. "Greedy dead writers," as a label? Love it.

  5. Why even write? I was gonna say something about "me on the teeter, you on the totter" and just look. Damn.

  6. Sounds like P is shuterbugging while commenting.

    KB, do u have sun block when you go hiking?

  7. "Love in the time of swine flu."

    What do you mean all the good phrases are gone?

  8. There is no question but that I wanted to write. I composed short poems as a child as I walked my paper route, delivering the Memphis World on the narrow streets in my quiet city of the 40s and 50s. Again in the military I functioned as an Air Force Historian for 3 ½ years under a Master Sergeant who taught me Air Force Speak. Later in College as an ersatz musicologist, I attempted to decipher the intricacies of Gregorian chant malismas while at the same time ghost writing for graduate students who had never diagrammed a simple sentence in their lives. Funny thing, I wrote two Masters Thesis and co-attempted a PHD tome before I completed my BA. I’m not complaining. The MAs allowed me to pocket between $300 and $500 EACH, while attending college on a monthly GI Bill allotment of $120. I never really made it big, obviously, in any of these endeavors, thought for a while I did OK while ghost writing for the grad students at my country club university. Is there any University of Arizona Alumni watching that profited from work on my veggie green Royal typewriter in the early late 50s and early 60s? You know who you are. You probably still owe me MONEY! Now, in the winter of my declining creative juices, with bifocals perched on the crown my nose, I attempt exercises in writing the perfect 5-7-5 haiku strophe. They suck!
    Yo, Hiker! I wanna be like you, if I ever grow up. Luv ya’, babe. Don’t think of changing.

  9. Please, Miss, I want some more...of this super funny stuff (just couldn't help a twist on that phrase)...
    Sheesh...I cannot top the Luv ya, babe. Wish I said that.

  10. and with search engines at the ready, you can't even plagiarize a little anymore

    You'd make a great Jane/Jack Smith

  11. Thank you K. And you're right, FSF.

    D, I've thought of hanging up my blogging shoes, but then at the last minute something always crosses my mind.

    J, it's time someone said it.

    P, I guess I wrote that with just minutes to spare.

    CO, yup.

    A, I was going to start this with how it's the best of times and the worst of times, but that sounded oddly familiar.

    Tash and I read all the same books.

    PA, isn't plagiarism some form of flattery?

  12. Oh, and Chris, who has never known a block of any kind in his life.

  13. Creativity is more like pi than pie, but none of it is as easy as.

  14. I can't seem to come up with anything to say.

  15. I imagine that in the literary/writing world teeter tottering is a contact sport.

    We probably all like to think that we have writer's block, we just don't put it to such good use.

    Doesn't your local newspaper need your services as a columnist? Or would that mean the end to the blog effort, or maybe you could just preview it here?

  16. WCGB, have you ever tried to make a pie? Are they crazy?

    Earl, I would have bet a lot of money that you were in Chris's category.

    PJ, I think you'll be my best friend for the day.

  17. You probably would have won a lot of money!

  18. LOVE this! Made me smile, made me laugh. I have had that very thought about all the good stuff having already been written. Then, I read something else really brilliant, and I think, 'damn, I could have written that if I'd been faster'. :o)

    Thank you for stopping by my place and leaving such a lovely note on my doorstep. I'll check out the book you suggested.


  19. Whenever I want to convince myself I have nothing worthy to say, I read the last few pages of Gatsby. Born back ceaselessly... yup, that gets me every time.

    But I usually write about how much I have nothing to say and then I feel better.

    This is hilarious. You need to tell David Sedaris that he mistakenly has your career!

  20. This might be one of my favorites, but there are so many it's awfully hard to choose.

  21. Laurie makes a good point. Sedaris is okay, but he doesn't make me laugh consistently like you do.

  22. Oh, let me just bask in the last four comments for awhile.

    (About Sedaris, you really have to hear him read his own stuff, don't you think? It's the material plus his inflections that make him so funny.)

  23. I didn't really enjoy Sedaris until I heard his audio books. :D

  24. You could read them out loud on KPCC maybe. Whaddaya think?

  25. Do you like this sort of image?

  26. J, I like that one and a lot of the others. and then some I don't understand. Yet.

    thanks for the link.