Saturday, July 11, 2009
July 11 - Writer's Block
So today is July 11 - day 11 of my Blogapooza. To date, I've blogged about firsts, ethnicity, ghosts, insomnia, pizza, blank pages, my day, my moments, my departed cat and a few other topics. Today I find myself with nothing.
Now nothing is never truly nothing. During the day as I contemplated my blog, I thought about truth (because someone I know has been dealing with lying or at least, lies of omission), I thought about fleas (my patio is infested), I thought about working on a Saturday (because I did), I thought about any number of topics... but none feels like a topic I feel like expounding upon right now.
So this must be Writer's Block, although in the traditional sense I feel Writer's Block ("WB" henceforth as I am lazy) in its purist sense is not when you have a blank page and no idea what to put on it, but when you are in the middle of writing something and hit a dead end.
Interestingly, when I was much younger, I began writing a series of books (being a big fan of L. Frank Baum's "OZ" Series, this only seemed a natural for me). It began in 4th Grade with a project to write a story and then bind it into a book. "To Shrink or Not to Shrink" was born and with talented illustrations by my childhood crush, Missy Herman, it earned me an 'A'.
The following year, I wrote "The Green Devil Strikes Again" (years before "The Empire Strikes Back" so don't be hatin'). Once again with illustrations by Missy, this story had Chapters with cute misleading Titles and even ended with an absolute set-up for the next book.
1977 - I am 14 and "The Time Tornado" is born; a wonderful tale of magic and time travel, historical references and cliff hangers. I was very proud of it.
Sometime in the mid-80's (after moving from Philadelphia to New York, changing High Schools, and a stint on submarines in the U.S. Navy), I returned to these tales and decided to do a rewrite. "To Shrink or Not To Shink became a couple of chapters which when combined with "The Green Devil Strikes Again" and paired with "The Time Tornado" into a tome collectively called "The Larry Chronicles" (named for the books' hero and lead character - who was actually me).
During the rewrite, I encounted WB (and you thought I'd forgetten the thread of this blog; tsk-tsk-tsk). I don't mean that I encountered WB in the sense that I could not continue writing... I encountered what I suspect might have been a case of youthful WB. What I mean is - while reading through "The Time Tornado" I became so engrossed in the tale, I had barely any recollection of writing it. I read and was fascinated by the mind of the youth who wrote it... and I read and I read and then I turned the page and it ended - mid-thought, mid-sentence, mid-cliff hanger. I have NO idea where it was going.
I spent hours and days pondering even that final sentence, not knowing how to complete it! What had I been thinking back on that day in 1977? What was so important that had interrupted me and what kept me from going back to my writing for something like eight years! Had I encountered a WB from years ago - from a person I no longer was or recognized?
The sentence and the story were eventually finished - but did they end as originally envisioned or as well as that 14-year old mind could have done? I will never know. Looking back at these stories they have shades of OZ, Alice in Wonderland, pop culture and ideas and devices that if published today, would be considered to be inspired by Harry Potter (yet they pre-date Ms. Rowling's creation by 20 years).
So a case of WB tonight caused me to reflect on a case of WB from my past. I guess tonight I didn't actually have WB, but more like TB (Topic Block).
[BTW - Once I started writing this blog, I continued writing it straight through - what actually did start out as a mindless ramble about how I had Writer's Block and was unable to come up with anything to write about, became something interesting to write about.]