Writing Through

wellThis morning I’m filled with doubt. I doubt my skill at writing dialogue. I don’t feel included or capable of anything approaching the awesomeness of my compadres in the business of wordsmithing. I doubt my ability to write this story. This god damned story that has been riding me all weekend. Asking me, nagging at me, what comes next? There is the simmering possibility that I’ve reinvented myself in precisely the way I can never succeed. Creation is fool’s gold.

Ugh!I sit down at the table, unpack my laptop, and take a sip of coffee. The manuscript is staring me in the face. No, it’s looking through me, into my head, and seeing all my inadequacies and self

Still I’m panning for it. I sit down at the table, unpack my laptop, and take a sip of coffee. The manuscript is staring me in the face. No, it’s looking through me, into my head, and seeing all my inadequacies and insecurity. This machine, invented and perfected by very smart people, stands as a monument relative to all the things I’ll never do. All the words I’ll never be bright enough to string together.

But this is a discipline. Right? I’m asking myself. You don’t know what to say next in the manuscript so blog. Write anything. Just write. I am reminded of the “Neoteny” passage in Tom Robbins’ STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER. I now am certain I understand where this passage came. It came from the bottom of THIS well. Tom Robbins sat here panning for fool’s gold at the bottom of this well, sometime before me.

I shake the pan in the dark of the well. Slosh water through the sand, peering into the gloom, dump it, and refill. It’s the black nuggets I want, not those that sparkle in the diminished light.

“We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.”
Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

Yeah, but what do I write about?

I’m writing about writing through this writer’s block. This morning, after a long-weekend spent herding a five-year-old and battling blackberries I am a juggernaut of industrial strength accomplishments. I’ve written books; I’ve published stories. Roughly two hundred words into this post I can feel myself climbing out of the well. The edges of the hole are clearly defined, contrasted black and white in the brightness of the sunshine that illuminates the world beyond the lip of the pit.

Each word is a hand hold, a chink in rough stones where I can find purchase. Momentum builds, I’m making progress. Look Mom! Look at me!

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