On Not Writing or My Imagination is Playing Hard to Get – And Winning
I am a creative genius. My mind is overflowing with creative ideas, future societies, vivid characterization…unfortunately this genius only expresses itself when I am busy doing something else – driving the kids somewhere, paying bills, grocery shopping. When I’m busy my mind teems with creative ideas, the possibilities are limitless! All I can think about is the neat story idea or concept that’s popped into my head. Characters appear as though by magic, standing beside me as I toss bagels in my grocery cart, sitting next to me in the car…I often jot plot ideas down on anything I can get my hands on, a receipt, my grocery list, even the palm of my hand or forearm when necessary.
When this happens, I crave the opportunity to sit down and write, I am obsessed with it. It’s literally all I can think about. If only I were done THIS I would be able to write everything down, all my fabulous ideas that have been percolating inside me. I believe this, wholeheartedly, rushing through activities, desperate to be home, seated comfortably in front of my computer, bustling through the door as though I was a firefighter responding to a five alarm call – out of my way, I have an IDEA and I need to write it down and develop it RIGHT NOW!
When I am finally seated in front of my computer, requisite cup of steaming tea beside me, all earnest attention, a silence descends over me so profound that I can’t break it. What should I write? My hands hover over the keyboard but nothing comes to mind. I delve into my pocket and withdraw the wrapper/receipt/scrap of paper with my notes on it, squinting at the hastily scratched text, trying to decipher it. Even when I am able to make out the words, I can’t catch the feeling again, the creative bubble drifts away from me, the energy, the wonder trapped inside it.
Is this writer’s block? I wonder. I stare into space, squinting out the window, trying to remember just what I had been thinking about at the dentist’s office in the moments before they froze my gums. I spend a lot of time staring around the room, contemplating the different things I need to get onto, like the giant dust balls accumulating under the piano – how could I allow that to continue? That must be taken care of RIGHT NOW! Or the line of dust coated along the edge of the ceiling fan, twirling lazily above me. The coffee ring on my desk, the fingerprints on the window next to me, the lone tuft of dog hair sitting bold as can be in the middle of the floor.
How do writers do it? Do they just sit there and IGNORE the mildew growing in on their window frame? Do they not even see it? How else are they able to sit down and put words to paper without pulling out their hair? I think the solution is obvious: I need to start bringing my laptop with me everywhere, setting it up whenever inspiration strikes me – the grocery store, the dentist waiting room, at traffic lights. Maybe I’m one of those rare breeds of writers who only have the urge to write WHEN THERE’S NO POSSIBLE WAY I can write. Maybe I’m like those men who are constantly pursuing women and then once they have them, abruptly lose interest. My imagination is really a sexy woman who is playing hard to get really, really well.