Writer’s Block

Sometimes I recognize a block the way one knows the end of a stream is coming, by its turn to a trickle, by the ground seeming to come up and make the water vanish as it goes from feet to inches to a mere damp spot over which no boat could sail, no matter how small the scale of fantasy, grounded, thoughts and imagination foundered.

Sometimes it’s like it’s been this time.  Gradual and in the shadows, slipping and disappearing while no one watched, rates raiding a storehouse only at night, the boat on a shallowing sea flat bottomed, no Clemens to call Mark, the lost depth known only when some fool finally measure and the line goes slack as soon as the weight breaks the surface.

I’ve written next to nothing for the last two weeks.  Counter-intuitively, my stories grow and grow and grow, gaining words and length, but not progressing.  A block not of action, but of drive.  I can string words together but I can’t make them mean.  I can’t ally them with my intentions.

I’m afraid to work on either novel, to edit or build on unfinished stories.  I worry that  anything I’d add I’d only have to cut out later, whatever endings I’d make would forever taint the proper narratives I’ve yet to write, that I’d be unable to go back and make better ends once the block has lifted.

I know my only way out is through, so I write in every malleable place I can, every inconsequential space, all the margins around the concrete in all the spaces that can’t be ruined or that won’t build like sandbags against doorways the morning after when it’s time to leave.  Paint the trim and paint the walls, paint the ceiling, but leave the floor for last when the brush has finally broken in.  I’m afraid to paint myself into the corner.

There’s so much I want to write, so many narratives I wish to make and stories I want to follow.  I can’t seem to say what I mean to, can’t seem to make my thoughts turn into words, the translation so imperfect as to remind me of the clear and vivid images that exist in my head and that will never come out because I cannot draw and I cannot paint.  Words are failing me too, becoming like those images, so that I feel isolated, disconnected.  Excommunication making me feel as though only my consciousness bridges the rigid divide between what I imagine and what exists, and the bridge is not so well made as to allow passage tow ways, but only out to in, what’s inside trapped there.

Frustrated, I start to believe that if I can’t get what’s inside to come out that I no longer want what’s outside to get in.  If the external world won’t foster what’s mine, why should I give internal space to that which comes from without?

The world does not behave as such, reality is not as such, but at times I want to take my ball and go home.

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