As the song says, it’s been a long time since I rock and rolled. Actually, I’ve been doing a lot of literal rocking and rolling on the drums. I’m speaking figuratively about the kind of rock and roll that typically manifests itself in poetry, fiction, and right here on the blog site. Inexplicably (or not), I have hardly written a word since September. I don’t like it. After awhile, it gets under the skin and begins to itch. Left untreated it can fester and come out sideways. So without an idea in my head, I start writing today just so I can say that I wrote something. Here I am writing words, stringing them together to form sentences, stringing sentences together to form paragraphs, the first of which ends right here, on December 25, Christmas Day, 2019.
The only way to stop the block is to write your way through it. I get that. I believe it. I tell my students this. So allow me to write my way through the block. What the block represents, I hope, is simply a lull, a fallow period before an enormously stupendous harvest. What the block represents, I fear, is a faltering of creative powers, a diminishing of skill, a kind of inspiration death. The latter possibility is too terrible to consider and I find myself fighting a mighty battle against it. After all, I’ve had dry spells in creativity before and I’ve always come out the other end and continued to create.
Perhaps, as I believe that creativity feeds more creativity, I have found myself over the last several months wanting in several of the activities or conditions that inspire productive periods for me, and engaging in too many activities that don’t.
Things I know feed my creative spirit that I have not been doing:
- Writing regularly and consistently, anything, poetry, fiction, blog entry.
- Reading: Freely reading, NOT the kind of reading I do in preparation for teaching.
- Making original music, writing songs: Playing drums in a cover band, while fun, exhilarating, and somewhat lucrative, somehow does not do the entire trick.
- Being in community with other creatives: Socially or artistically–facebook don’t cut the mustard, and convening with a writing community once a year ain’t enough.
- April: All of the other months of the year that aren’t April, they’re just not April. I need to do more April.
Things I’ve been doing that don’t help.
- The opposite of all of the above descriptors.
- Generally speaking, the internet.
- Feeling abjectly depressed about the gov’ment, fearful of another four years of said gov’ment, and unable to resist the “what horrible shit went down today on the clown car” impulse.
- Allowing anxiety about certain monumental and impending life choices to paralyze me into making no choices about anything whatsoever, related or not.
‘Tis the season to make the resolutions, yes? Do more of the stuff that feeds the creativity and less of the stuff that doesn’t. Can we get specific? Can we find some small achievable goals that will build on each other over time so that 2020 becomes a year of productivity and creative health? Okay, then, let’s try a thing. Let’s make a damn list. Here’s a list of achievable stuff that, if I accomplish, would make me feel pretty great about the new year:
- Write a thing, at least one thing, once a week. It doesn’t have to be a finished thing.
- Read for pleasure, at least one book a month.
- Write an album’s worth of songs. For almost a decade I wrote six songs every month. This should not be a problem.
- Make arrangements to speak to people who will help me–therapist, financial advisor, friends, my courage community–toward optimum discernment regarding these monumental and impending life choices.
- Meditate more often–and generally speaking, take better care of my physical, emotional, and spiritual self. Regular exercise, anyone?
That’s a good list. It seems within reach, reasonable. It’s a positive list. I noticed that I didn’t list things that began with the words “stop,” “don’t,” or “resist.” It’s all “do more of” rather than moralizing about what I should do less of. I’m going to make a copy of this thing and post it somewhere where I can see it every day. Maybe I’ll make myself a chart. Get all Benjamin Frankliny up in here. I’m pretty pleased with myself. I’ve written my way through the block and have decided upon some resolutions. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you, and to me. Let’s do this.