It’s been an interesting few months, my sisters. Full disclosure? I’ve been blocked. No, my colon is working fine and although I do notice that as I get older I am indeed fixated on my bowel function.
When I say blocked, I mean my writing. Make no mistake, I don’t consider myself a “writer” by trade. Sure, when I was a kid, it was indeed my dream to be a writer. I pictured myself holed up in some fabulous café with a moleskin and a fountain pen scribbling for good and glory as the words fell on the page. In my head I was in a fabulous pantsuit and in my heart I was living the dream.
Did it matter if I was good at it? Shit no. Writing was my escape. As a kid I has Hillroy notebooks on my desk with antique fountain pens bought second hand. My fingers were stained blue and black from the leaky pens but I used them anyway. I wrote poetry and short stories, songs and love letters. I poured my heart on pages and left it there to bleed and to heal and to make me whole again.
Dramatic? Sure thing. I was a teenager in the 1980’s enduring one Winnipeg winter after another. I was North End girl with Downtown dreams and a closet full of Club Monaco sweatshirts and Levi’s 501’s. Drama and dreams were all I had.
But dreams have their way of working out because indeed when I shared my pantsuit/moleskin fantasy with my family, I was quickly informed by my father that writing would make a fine hobby once I became a doctor.
“Don’t worry, Alphonse”, he informed me, “you can wear whatever pantsuit you want once you get your medical degree.”
Yes, the writing would be my hobby all these years as I pursued medicine as a career. Here it is decades later…. my father is long gone (I miss him so), I am indeed a doctor who indeed writes for a hobby. As for the pantsuits? I am really more a dress and heels kind of girl.
Make no mistake, I am at a point in my life where I really do LOVE my job. This was not always the case. There indeed was a time when I thought this life in medicine was thrust upon me without a choice and I was doomed to “make it work”. I saw my work as a job and my job as an obligation. I always liked the work and the people but I just could not make a love connection.
And then as if by magic about 5 or so years ago, I fell in love; truly, madly deeply. I can not recall the place or time, the rhyme or reason…. But something clicked and me and medicine really did make it work.
And then it occurred to me. I started writing 5 years ago. Could it be that my passion for my work sparked and grew when I reconnected with the creative side I had left behind? I really can’t say for certain I just know that when words flow to a white space in front of me, my happiness indeed increases. Perhaps, excuse the drama, writing makes my world make sense.
So imagine my dismay when for the last few weeks, the words have been stuck like nobody’s business. Yes, I had writers block and no pantsuit in the world would mend this fence.
Writers block is an “umbrella term” first described in 1947 by psycholanalyst Edmond Bergler. It is a term used for the condition when writers (professional or otherwise) can’t make it happen. Think of it like Literary impotence and you are pretty much half way there.
Sure enough here are a variety of theories for why the block happens. One such theory is that when the brain gets stressed the limbic system (basal brain functions) take over from the cortex (the thinking system). How can you pen the great American novel when your brain is purely in survival mode trying to not be eaten by the world. We sacrifice creativity for survival in these instances and as such get blocked.
Another thought is that depression, fear, or even audience awareness paralyze the writer from thought and action.
I’m not sure what happened to me. All lives have stress and I am a pretty happy person. Maybe I just got lazy for a few weeks and my cerebral cortex needed a nap.
You see for the last few weeks the words that once flowed like water have indeed been sticky and slow.
Could it be my writing hobby had run its course? Was it now time to take up quilting? I have no idea why I bring up quilting. I don’t know how to quilt- it just seemed like a classic hobby.
But damn it, “I am a sometimes writer”, I told myself and like anything in life worth having I will endure.
There I sat in front of a blank screen willing the words to come.
I prayed to the goddess and sold my soul and promised to call my mother more often….
And within moments my fingers hit the keyboard and in a flash I was back in that proverbial pantsuit with imaginary moleskin in hand.
Block be gone.
I’m back bitches.