word warrior


I'm in a really terrible place with my writing right now. It feels like a Lagos go slow in my brain--nothing's moving, plus it's about eighty degrees and the air conditioning is shot. I want to get out of the car, but I can't abandon it or else I won't get where I'm going. All of a sudden I'm trying to figure out how I got in the car to begin with and whether I really want to go anywhere at all.

Lately my writing has been all surface--I don't want to go any deeper, get any truer, though I know there's a whole lot that's missing. Forgive the additional reference, but I was watching No Country For Old Men tonight, and it's like that scene where Tommy Lee Jones's character is outside the motel room staring at the blown out lock and a part of him knows that the killer is standing inside the room and he has to go in after him. So what does he do? He takes his gun out of its holster and pushes the door open.

For me, I've been writing up until the edge of the door for ages, and now I'm supposed to open it and get to the heart of the matter and I suddenly want to run and hide. It's an excruciating feeling, really, like being a liar or a coward. It sounds childish, but I really wish someone would just sit and hold my hand while I write. Tell me it's okay to bust open all the locked doors. (I even emailed a writing coach last week who, unfortunately, only works by email.)

I think to myself, who gave me the authority or audacity to write anything about anyone? I think that I don't have a clue what I'm doing. That maybe it's best I leave it alone for now. Only it's my book and I'm the only one who can write it.

Maybe it's just some boiled over anxiety from the last few residency applications I turned in -- Fine Arts Work Center, Jentel and I-Park -- with half-ass edited chapters that I didn't work on until the last minute. (I actually turned one in where half the chapter was in first and the other in third person.)

A part of my brain just doesn't seem to be working at the moment. Likely the part that sat amidst the dahlias and cedars at Hedgebrook and was so eerily authentic it was like meeting some other version of myself. I want her back, but to meet her again I have to open so many emotional doorways completely blind to the boogeymen within.

Only God knows what they're packing and I have only a pen. In life, I suppose, unless you push yourself beyond where you think you're capable of, you never grow. So maybe I am only growing and, every day, I will wonder how I got here.

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  1. hey, I really like your blog and you clearly have a way with words so you shouldn't worry about your writing flowing. It does here so it will in your book. And finish already. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  2. Sorry this comment is late...

    It's clearly not writers' block; and what it demands, you don't feel courageous enough to provide. But I think you have the courage open the door to your emotions. If your emotions gush through like a flood, that could be the help you need to propel your writing forward, deep into the room where the "killer" lurks. Only this time, you're assured of victory.
    I can't wait to hear of the date your book will be released, much more to read it.


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