So, I’ve had a bit of blogger’s block. It’s hard to get back into the blogging mindset once you’ve not done it for awhile. Where do you begin? Do you simply recap what’s been going on and why you’ve been silent? Does it really matter? Is that the sound of crickets chirping and my own voice echoing in the empty canyons? Hello? Bonjour?
Blogger’s block is different from the typical writer’s block. I’ve actually never suffered from writer’s block, knock on wood — I write for a living, so I’ve learned you can’t be precious and perfectionist, at first you just have to let go and do it. But blogging is a different beast. Blogging has no end, no final shape it resolves towards. It is an ongoing commitment to a kind of public thinking and expressing. It’s easy to burn out with it. But in this case, it wasn’t burnout — it was just life being its crazy, misshapen self, and me hunkering down in survival mode, just trying to get through bouts of depression, shock, expansion, transition.
Compound it with the fact that I’m not an “in media res” kind of writer. I really admire people who can blog and write their way through huge life crises and transitions: I myself, I realize, cannot. I can’t commit anything to words on a screen or paper for public consumption until I’ve gotten a bead on the experience, eked out some wisdom and insight and shape and contour from it. And, of course, when it comes to Major Life Stuff, there are other people and their privacy involved. I guess I’ll never be a super-confessional writer in that way, at least not until I know the ending of the story. Until the story ends, in fact.
So, let’s just say the past summer has been highly eventful. There are times when you make life happen; there are also times when life happens to you. As much as we want to believe and act as if we are mistresses and masters of our own destinies and authors of our stories — sometimes life really does take unexpected turns. Life, death, birth, rebirth, “cycle of existence” kind of shit on a real-life and metaphorical level: that was my summer of 2014. And many of its twists were huge surprises, or out of my control. But that happens; that’s life. I suppose it’s what the Buddhists mean when they say life is suffering. We suffer in part because all our best-laid plans blow up in our faces, and we realize, no, not everything is under our control.
And in the middle of it all, I stopped writing — I stopped writing in my journal, online, to friends via e-mail. I only had enough writing juju for my job, and well, I need my job to live, eat and survive, so it took priority. I didn’t possess the kind of inside-and-out perspective writing sometimes requires. I couldn’t narrate my own experience; I could only somehow try to make my way through it as best as I could without the aid of words and thought, my once trusty allies. This summer, I realized, was the longest I’ve ever gone without writing for myself. This summer was also the farthest away I’ve ever felt from myself, if that makes sense. I couldn’t even take a picture for Instagram. Creativity was always one of the gifts I’ve relied on in life to anchor a sense of identity, continuity and harmony — and it seemed to leave me.
Don’t worry — everything is good and fine, but it’s taken awhile to adjust to everything: new life circumstances, situations, expanding identities. I laugh at my intentions for this year that I set on New Year’s: I wanted a really quiet, calm, peaceful kind of year after a few years of not-so-quietness. Ha! At this point, I will settle for equanimity in the face of everything. Hopefully, though, I’m getting my writing legs back — like sea legs, but a bit more psychically necessary.
I know this is cryptic. I don’t mean to be mysterious — half the struggle is trying to figure out just what to say, and what exactly feels good to speak upon where I can offer some semblance of insight. Once I get going again and figure out what’s comfortable and okay for me to reveal and write about, hopefully things will become more clear. But for now, it’s time to stop wondering if this is good enough or just enough, and hit Publish and call it a night.
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All Things Glorious and True: Love Letters to Pop Culture, New York, Fashion and Other Objects of Affection is a collection of essays exploring how my crushes on music, dive bars, books, outfits and so much else gave me a braver soul, more open heart and even love. All Things is like a great, stylish mixtape: surprising, kind of punky, fun and often heartfelt.
Tags: blocks, blogger's block, creativity, silence, transition
I know this feeling! Blogging is impossible for me–I don’t know how people do it. If something is going on in my life, it’s hard to talk about, but if nothing is going on, there’e nothing TO talk about. Anyway I’m glad to hear you’re OK and I hope you get as much peace as you can.
Incidentally, I can’t believe that I moved to the Midwest, lived in Chicago, lost my job and moved out to California, and in all that time we never got a chance to have coffee or something! Let me know if you’re ever in the Bay Area.
Thanks John! ‘Tis a pity we never met up, but in honesty, I rarely made it up to Chicago this last year…eek, life! I hope it was a nice sojourn for you, though, and that you’re happily settled in the Bay Area. I do look fondly upon my time in San Francisco…and miss the burritos! I’ll let you know if I’m ever in the area! xo
I missed your words, but totally understand taking that kind of break. Glad that you’re blogging a little either way, and hope to read more from you soon. In the meantime glad things are well xoxo
thanks, teri! hope things are well with you, too! so happy for you xo k.