Monthly Archives: July 2013

Writer’s block – The Myth, The Movie…

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I would bet my paltry life savings that every single writer or would-be writer has been convinced by someone else to be mortally afraid of Writer’s Block. Personally, I stopped fearing it when I was in my teens.  Just like the monsters in the bedroom cupboard, Santa Claus and Ye Olde Dentistry Barbie,  in younger years, Writer’s Block vanished soon after I had my first few struggles with putting words to a blank sheet.

This happened not because I was, or am, some kind of courageously brilliant writer whose middle name is Prolific. It happened because I came to see the nature of my personal relationship with writing.  And ‘personal’ was the key. The key was, and is, in me, and under my control.

Maybe it was simple orneriness, but I saw, early and clearly, that there was no literary, linguistic malaria lurking in my room, descending at its malicious will. There was no metaphysical Concrete Idiot stalking the boundaries of my mind, just waiting to snuff out my literary/poetic brain. I just wouldn’t have it.

That’s not to say that everything suddenly became simple and easy for me as a writer. Often was the time when I couldn’t write. I often enough now shrivel up in disgust at the thought of even bothering. My mind, at times, will NOT be recalled from its hammock somewhere out there… wherever.

It’s not blocked from coming back. It’s not restrained, by some malicious Golem, from putting down the syllables, words and images. There’s nothing beyond my control going on.

I simply don’t have enough fuel.

And I came to terms with that long ago. The mind can only give significant energy to one thing at a time. (Multitasking doesn’t count: That’s not significant energy.)

Imagine trying to play your final set at Wimbledon while simultaneously thinking about where to go for dinner, what title is right for your latest book, why your left foot pinches, and when the Ferrari will be fixed. Game, set, match! Suddenly it’s shower time and you don’t want dinner.

You can’t win at Wimbledon that way. Even Serena has rotten days and loses tournaments. Every tennis player, amateur or professional, runs out of fuel from time to time. But is there such a beast as Tennis Player’s Block? Server’s Block? Backhander’s Block?

There is no Writer’s Block. Inevitably, the mind-fuel runs low. Sometimes the wish or the will isn’t there. Sometimes the case is simply that you used up all your fuel on that last stint of hard work you did at the keys. The imagination has been stretched to the limit and now needs the tension released.

Sometimes cleaning house and unconsciously ruminating is the natural order for your morning or afternoon, or evening. Sometimes it’s chocolate. Or communing with trees.

When your fuel runs out, when your creative faculty creaks to a halt, stop, and take the time you need. You will not lose a beat, because the resting is one of the beats.

When I understood that, I understood my own ebb and flow, and became a better, happier writer for it. You see, the self-torture and self-indulgence were gone. I was not multi-tasking writing, guilt, fear and insecurity, plus fending off the huge, inflated Bogeyman Who Doesn’t Exist. Doing all of that takes an awful lot of energy, and in such a scenario, ninety-five percent of the energy is wasted, burned into fumes. So what’s left for writing?

No wonder believers in Writer’s Block find themselves regularly arrested by it. Give it credence and it will prevail.

I used to study classical guitar very seriously. I was eventually practicing, perfecting, playing scales, for three hours a night, non-stop, every night. But it took me years to get to that level of focus, stamina and technique – not to mention emotional capacity.

Writing is no different. Tennis is no different. Go for perfection, every time you can. But be a good friend and trainer to yourself. Learn to smell the fumes before you force yourself to sit at the keys.

There’s no block. No amount of guilt or self-punishment, or iron will is going to bring those words and pages out of you. No battle with that concrete bogeyman will help. That’s not part of the writing process. That’s tilting at windmills.

Only love of the art and fuel in the tank will do the job. The two combined add up to stamina, perseverance, and the satisfaction, even joy, of writing.

And now, it’s time for some ice cream.

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Hiding

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Gaming is the opiate of the illiterati.

 

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Something greater…

It is being said more and more these days that Westerners are losing their sense of meaning – that they have no faith in anything greater than themselves. I disagree. There are literally hundreds of millions of Westerners who fervently believe in something greater and more powerful than themselves. They call it a car.

 

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Kat Poem – by Google mate Mathew Hoy

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i think that i shall never see
a poem lovely as cat splee*.

a cat whose yawning mouth does blow
pudding chuff from down below

a cat that sleeps at home all day
and on his haunches barfs away;

a cat that may in every season
hurl and toss for no good reason;

upon whose fur has sticky lain;
that ultimately leaves no stain.

except for on the carpet yore,
this cat tossed out from our back door.

– with apologies to joyce killmer

* See online, The Urban Dictionary

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The Anachronistic Romantic

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Romantics are out of place. There is nothing to be done for them. They are not hopeless, just mad. Hallmark, everyday romantics are not in the running. They do not count. The real romantics are the equivalent of the early Christian martyrs. They know they are bound to die. And that is an acceptable situation. True romantics would rather die than renounce their faith in their special insanity. So die they do, by the numbers, one might suspect.

There is trouble with them; it comes off them like a fog. It is a fine and subtle disease, and once  you have caught it… Well, let’s say this: one cannot catch it, because one already has it. The romantic is born with this exquisite sickness, and must live a life in which that sickness fogs, then illuminates life, by turns.

It is a nostalgic longing for something never before experienced, which should, then, be a lie. But it is not a lie, not a bit of it. It is the very essence of romanticism (if we can call it an ism at all), which is a deep impulse, a killing longing for something transcendent and at the same time sensual, sexual, demanding, hungry. It is the transcendent rooted in the fevered now of desire; an almost impossible combination. And yet we continue to live for it, to love it, to become drunken, misshapen, feckless, hopeless, musical, suicidal, prayerful, for a taste of its reification, in which it dies.

Romanticism, though not an ism, is a highly political, but subterranean state of being. The romantic lives for the realization of deep love married to deep loss. The romantic acknowledges the almost, imperceptible, finality of loss and failure as it encroaches on every breath. The romantic continues to breathe and live for the impossible despite the facts, the sickness, the palpable death and abusive absurdity of living in human society. And it is political by making politics vanish altogether from the equation. As such, it is anarchic.

The romantic craves the society which kills the possibility of realizing such magnificent, suiciding, desire; because it is only in the society of other humans that this romanticism becomes possible, and at the same time virtually impossible. It lives through, is nourished by, nothing else but the devouring desire of another partner romantic. Is that its root then? To be an inherent, tragic contradiction? A pairing of annihilating realities?

Romance desires transcendence on the superhuman scale, but is forced to live it out in human, all-too-human pettiness. This is the root, the very key to romanticism. It must love passionately, and die in so doing. It can never realize what it so desires. It is a kiss suspended, a sexual coupling given beautiful flesh but bound, almost sundered, by the anatomical mechanics of lust in motion. In this, the deepest of inter-human knowing, the romantic wants sex to be a prayer. And since so few know how to wed prayer and fuck, then we fail; and the romantic celebrates that failure by dying, through martyrdom to this, our first psycho-biological failure. That first failure is the effort to render the primal ooze lyrical, idyllic and palpably beautiful.        

The romantic cannot do so, in much the same way that it cannot render the mundane battleground and furniture of petty life into something akin to prayer and orgasm. They seem forever separate, and it is that failure inherent between the human individual and the societal cipher, which romanticism always laments, and rises up to solve by the alchemy of sex, death and eternal hunger.

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Dumb Script Lines

Keanu Reeves in Matrix Revolutions:ragdoll-matrix-reloaded-2

“There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it…. I need to take one of the ships..”.

There, that was easy.

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July 8, 2013 · 2:15 am

Healing words

Words of wisdom from my friend and fantastic artist Brandy

“The summit of misery is to personalize everything. Let it go, just try it for a day, an hour.. it’s not always about you. Let happiness win.”

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