Some days, I feel spent even before I set my feet on the ground. Not physically, but on the creative front. I drink copious amounts of coffee, play with the kids, walk the dog and read an excellent book. But when I sit down in front of my screen, I come up with an enormous ball of blah. There are no ideas in the old noggin, not even a kernel of one — all I can hear is the empty echoing of half-thoughts, tumbleweeding across the arid landscape. Evenings have always been my favorite part of the day to write, but recently I’ve begun glancing at the watch, feeling the blankness grow and consume me as the clock approaches 7.
Last month, I was on fire. I wrote pages, made minimal edits, and then wrote some more. Ideas galore, big and small, came to me with the smallest of efforts, and before long, I had amassed a neat little collection of essays that would please even my sternest reader. I was on fire, and it was glorious.
Then the holiday week arrived. We’re staycation-ing (I love-hate that term) at our property in Tahoe, and it has been hard to find a quiet moment. The house has two levels, so logic follows that the kids and dog are always on the other floor. And after two days of frantically jogging up and down, my 38-year-old knees are groaning every time I approach the stairs. I have managed to fence off myself for a few minutes every day and write some stuff, but it hasn’t been sparkling or inspired. Just… stuff.
And then today. I wake up and can already sense it’s going to be a dismal, impotent bummer of a day. The morning is sunny, but there is some (surprise) snowfall in the afternoon. We sit under the alabaster sky and watch giant snowflakes settle on the landscape, painting everything a glittering white. My daughter eats some snow, the puppy does zoomies, and all I do is scan the scene with a tired eye, looking for some inspiration. And as 7 pm hits, the day grows colder and quieter, reflecting the nothingness in my head. Even my despair has this lethargy to it — like I’ve given up, said goodbye, and gone on life support.
This isn’t writers’ block or anything as grand as that. That… well, that I can handle. This is different — this strange loneliness trickling down my body, slowly sucking out every ounce of artistry and hope until I’m left barren.
They say a talented writer can twist any situation and come up with a story to tell. So that’s what I am doing right now. After starting and deleting three ideas, I am currently writing about being unable to write. There is a weird irony to this whole situation, but I’m too exhausted to appreciate it.
A few weeks back, I made a promise to myself — put fingers to the keyboard every day and come up with something on the screen. It doesn’t need to be powerful poetry or vivid prose. Just words on the screen, black on white, while I figure this out.
So be patient with me, dear reader, and allow me this self-indulgence. I’ve heard that even the driest lands get the occasional rain.