Friday, January 4, 2013

Back to Some Beginning

Stross declared his desire to participate in No Shave November using no uncertain terms; nothing I said convinced him to change his mind nor should it have. He's a man of 21. Even though he needs Mark's or my assistance to shave his face, he can - on his own - determine he does not want his face shaved. Therefore, No Shave November meant Stross got to show his cousins his Elvis-style mutton chops during the Thanksgiving holiday. But the month is long gone and so are his over-sized sideburns.

Without declaration, I seem to have declared the past two months No Share November and Not Talking December. I have not written anything to share here since mid-October. Not a believer in writer's block, I interpret this reality as a symptom of something else. But what?

I have held too many professional jobs where writing simply had to happen - deadlines be damned – to believe in writer’s block. News releases, articles that complete a newsletter, word blurbs that fill awkward spaces in a magazine layout, letters and memos that outline important details - these can all occur when a writer lacks clever thoughts. He or she must simply strive for lucid elucidation.

(Yes, that phrase is redundant, but I like that adjective-noun pairing today, so deal.)

Putting pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard is a mechanical step that makes things happen. Most writing happens by formula. In fact, all writing can happen by formula. A writer

- decides on an objective for a piece,

- selects an idea or angle to shape the piece,

- chooses some nouns and verbs to shape sentences, and then

- adds phrases capable of moving readers from one sentence to the next.

The process repeats from paragraph to paragraph or bullet point to bullet point until the piece is done. If time allows, a writer or editor can shape it better; if not, a writer will send the piece out trusting her spell checker and editing software didn't fail. The greatest hope is that she didn’t bury or mask her lead.

Masterful writing is something else entirely. To claim writer's block while waiting for something regarded as a masterpiece is the equivalent of waiting for an extra paycheck to arrive just because. The best you can wish for is something that feels insightful to flit through your mind accompanied by words that fit the contours of those thoughts. When such a phenomena happens to me, I try to capture the thoughts as scant notations before they vanish as vapor. It doesn't take much for inspiration to dissipate. Distractions. Tasks weighted with priority. Doubt. Time. Choosing to do something with those notations takes energy and purpose. I have files filled with unfilled purpose.

So what has kept me from writing? I am not waiting on a masterpiece; I do not credit a particular excuse. In fact, in my first draft of this post, I outlined why each excuse lacked worth. But a reader doesn’t care about that. A reader has ample excuses of his or her own to analyze (or not) between missed moments that fall as broken links - disconnections that release opportunities to enrich life.

I have only written this post today because I had to. I forced myself to put finger to keyboard to make something happen. In this new year, I sense an approaching crossroad. I can either continue on a path that has become increasingly isolated or make myself turn onto a road more traveled.

I guess there is one more option. I can forge a new road.

While I have never regarded myself as a trailblazer, I am familiar with feelings inherit to the task of cutting tracks for others to follow. That can be lonely too. Often I have turned around to find that no one has followed. Not right away. Sometimes not at all.

Yet, that does not matter, does it? For I was never lost, never bored, never forsaken.

I guess I am back to some beginning that I wandered from some time ago. It doesn’t matter how long ago my wandering occurred. Indeed, I am not certain I could determine the demarcation. I only wonder where I am to go now and how I might get there. Somehow I need my fingers to lead the way.

There are worse places I could find myself.

I am not lost - just on a road yet known.

At the risk of stating something obvious: I don’t know where I am going. I am, however, confident I will recognize my destination when I get there.

. . .


Kelly J Youngblood said...

I like your thoughts on writer's block. Regarding just capturing various thoughts, I have a place where not only do I keep "draft" posts for my blog, but another section called "writing fragments"--just to get the basic ideas down so I don't forget them.

Anonymous said...

Like how you write it is truely from the heart. Hope to read more

Brad Suckow

~Cari said...

I find myself only posting on my blog once every few months. It's not that I have writers block either, but I guess I just post when I have something so important to say, my heart can't hold on to it anymore.