Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writer's Block

It is unlike me to not write. I am a writing teacher, a teacher of writing, a writer, period. I may not be the best, and I am frequently among the worst, but I enjoy it and it helps me process my thoughts.

And my thoughts need some processing. I locked my keys in my truck yesterday, an event that has been several weeks in development; I have caught myself, hand on the lock, keys still dangling in the ignition more than once recently. So no surprise that in the middle of a day that included studying a spelling program, reading the Iroquois Constitution, laying out a greenhouse and visiting a newly-hatched chick (and on the way to buy flavored oil for a soda experiment and visit the Re-Store to find windows for the tiny house) that our day was derailed in front of the health food store

It's not that there isn't plenty to write about, and I don't actually find the physical process of writing difficult; some people have difficulty with topics and forcing themselves to sit down and write. Those difficulties don't afflict me. My block is 100% mental, and has nothing to do with whether or not I think my writing is any good. My curse is swirling thoughts and my attempt to solve all of the world's problems, to manage (and micromanage, says my husband) everything, to organize and coordinate. I wear about eleventy-million hats at HoneyFern, and then there is every other part of life: moving, grannysitting, transportation to softball practices, tutoring, time for myself that should include yoga, painting and horse time, etc - managing life itself. We are in limbo between houses, in that semi-permeable, half-moved state where you bring all the coats for the hall closet but no hangers, rings for shower curtains but no actual curtain, and one shoe of your favorite pair, the other lost in transit.

For me to write, I have to sit down, sweep away the panoply of detritus in my mind and focus in on one thing. In this instant, I understand why Jack Kerouac wrote in a stream-of-consciousness style on a continuous roll of paper; this eliminates the need to edit or slow down one's thinking, but for me it results in a frantic inability to focus fully on one thing, whether it is a student project or removing my keys from the ignition before locking the car door.  In this case, I have to follow my own advice: just get it down. Just write. The writing silences the cacophony; the editing streamlines my thoughts; the publication gets it into the world and off of my shoulders.

As I write this, two students are inside with me; it is lunch time, and one is looking for a new book to read; the other is working on his 3D game. I can hear the other students playing Twister with the chickens outside, and it is almost time to watch the news. Even as part of my brain plans the rest of the day, the other part is chipping away at the block, and in so doing calms and quiets a bit.

Here they come. Bring the noise.

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