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“My mind is like a carnival?” Karen Fayeth
I don’t know what to write I don’t know what to write I don’t know what to write.
Is exactly what I wrote when trying that age old advice for writer’s block:
Sit down and write something, anything. Just get words on the page.
I’m not saying it is bad advice. Quite the contrary. But repeating the sentences isn’t working.
Oh, I know, I’ll try my old trick of using a random word generator.
*click* The word is: carnival.
A juicy word! Here we go.
Heeeere we go.
My mind is like a carnival?
That’s it, that’s all she wrote.
It’s more like the carnival that left town. Quiet. Dead. Random bits of debris blowing around.
That was almost lyrical and then it wasn’t. A sudden gust of wind that just as suddenly went still.
So goes the ongoing wrestling match with my demons. Well, not demons, that’s an unfair characterization. My Muse is not a demon and my demons are not Muses.
There are those who would say that having writer’s block is simply lack of discipline. Just sit down and write words is the cure.
I get the point but I think it’s unfair. I have always prided myself on being a disciplined writer. I don’t take for granted my ability to quite easily write a thousand words a day. It takes me about twenty minutes.
So when I say I’m blocked, it’s not for lack of words. Knocking out a thousand words with no purpose is unfulfilling. What I yearn for is that pull, that feeling of being in the flow, when the words that flow from my fingertips are not just words but a cohesive chain with something to say.
I have read the experts like Natalie Goldberg, Anne Lamott, and Julia Cameron. They are all right and they are all wrong. Their guidance matters and at some point they have all helped me.
The best thing for me to remember is that the good words don’t go away forever. Writer’s block isn’t permanent. That is the focus that keeps me going, knowing they will return and we will flow together again.
But until that happens, I am both thirsty and hungry and yearn for pretty words and meaty thoughts and the satiation I can only feel after feasting on a good turn of phrase.
Until then, I will keep ahold of that good juicy random word. I will work it over like a bad tooth until I find the story that flows from the word carnival. I’ll carry it around in my virtual rucksack until I figure out how to build the word and sentences and phrases that go beyond “my mind is like a carnival.”
My carnival awaits.
Karen Fayeth (Oh Fair New Mexico): Raised most of my life in New Mexico, my job brought me to Northern California. I don’t usually identify myself as a Californian, simply a New Mexican living in California. In the first couple years after moving, I distanced myself from my home state thinking it backward and remote. Then I began to visit home more frequently and truly learned a love for my home state that only comes by gaining perspective. I’m a writer, a crafter, a photographer and labor at a “real job” during the days.
You could try taking the word apart , see how many words you can make from the letters…a poem may flow.
Hi Frank, excellent suggestion! Thanks for the comment.