Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Writer writing about writers’ writer’s block.

I remembered, while biking around this evening, that a previous entry used the phrase “when I’m between writer’s blocks;” and I realized just how incredibly pessimistic that was.

As I thought about it more, my legs propelling me forward on that marvelous machine, I remembered various quotations I’d read from various writers, speaking on the phenomenon/affliction/whatever of writer’s block. Most of these quotations revolved around the premise There is no such thing as writer’s block. There is only dot dot dot.

There is only self-doubt, there is only insecurity, there is only laziness. Etcetera.

It made me annoyed and defensive, which is not a good mood to be in when one bikes around the city1.

I wanted to look Dean Koontz, or Neil Gaiman, or Norman Mailer or whoever–the attributions have long since been lost in my head–straight in the eyes and say “Yes. You’re right. Sometimes, most times, it is any combination of these things and more.”

“And other times, comrades, it is bloodydamn WRITER’S BLOCK, and it has no other reason to exist other than that it is currently existing.”

macheteIt is the sensation of walking out of your home one morning and discovering that what was once a normal city block has become overrun with thick, steaming jungle. And nobody called to tell you about this. When you call them, they seem to react as if nothing is wrong. “Want to grab some lunch?” they ask. And then they seem confused when you explain that first you’d like to get out of this sudden jungle around your home. They hang up on you, and you begin searching the attic for your machete.

Funny thing is, you don’t remember ever owning a machete. In fact, you’re almost positive you don’t have a machete. Why on earth would you have ever bought a machete? You didn’t, until moments ago, live in an environment requiring a machete. Yet you continue searching for the machete.

You don’t find the machete in the attic, so you go to the garage. No machete there, either. You find a chainsaw with no teeth. It taunts you. You search in the kitchen, under the sofa cushions, in the billiard room billiard room you have a billiard room since when have you had a billiard room, in the refrigerator next to the pickled lamb shank and months-old mayonnaise, behind the gleaming golden apple of the Hesperides you can’t bring yourself to take a bite of; you rifle through the drawers of your dignity and the shadowy corner of your third-grade memories, but find no machete. You begin to call for it, as if this machete you are positive you do not own had a name and a spirit and would come bounding into your arms like a happy Labrador once it realizes you want to play, and then you stop calling for it because first of all you know that it is crazy to vocally summon a nonexistent machete, and secondly because if it bounded into your arms it would most likely skewer you.

You find a jetpack. You find a tunnel. You find a red phone under glass marked “Batman.” You know that any of these things might be able to get you out of the jungle, but by this time you are so invested in finding this machete that if you don’t find it you will surely go mad swear to God a billiard room, can it really be so bad here if you have a billiard room and begin to do insane things like insane people do, things like building amusement parks for fish or undergoing complex surgical procedures to replace your anterior cruciate ligament with strands of angel hair pasta. The machete must be around here somewhere. Would trout prefer rollercoasters or carousels?

And finally. After you’ve gone through your expansive home twice, tearing out the drywall and peeling individual shingles from the roof in your questing fury. After you’ve tried to lockpick the vertical hold dial on the television set. After you’ve set the chandelier on fire and danced slowly in the fugue of its tiny icicle death scream, you look in your right hand and there it is. Firm and heavy and its blade the shade of evening funerals. Right there. In your right hand. Right there. Right hand.

You step outside of your home, the machete feeling like an extension of your arm, like something you trained with for years under the tutelage of quietly approving Shaolin monks, and you take a swing at the first vine.

The machete vanishes.

The jungle is no longer there.

You walk down the street to get lunch, admiring the way the small group of finches beneath the nearby bushes hop neatly from place to place, feeling the cold bite of autumn on your arms.

And that’s how it is. Until the next time it happens.

1 Well, being defensive might sound like a good thing, but I was referring to emotionally so, not practically so.

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This entry was posted on October 20, 2005 by in Biking, Fiction, Mental Health, Writing.
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