My Old and Familiar Nemesis

Curse you, strange and evil Writer’s Block, wretched disease of the mind that renders twenty-six letters impotent and uncooperative, ailment of expansive white, blank nothingness. 

And curse you, newfangled iPad, with your Facebooks and your Pinterests and your Skype and Spotify and millions of other things that are not Google docs.

(Thank you, Google docs.)

And curse you, everything else that I want to blame except my mind that has stories to tell and heartstrings to tug, but no words to tell and tug them with. 

My daughter is asleep in her crib and my husband is asleep in bed. The apartment is quiet and yet I burn the nighttime hours, the only time the apartment is quiet, staring down an angry white screen and willing some magic to take place at my fingertips. No, the screen isn’t mad; I’m the one who’s mad here. 

I hate white. I always hated white. White rooms with white walls and rounded corners. White noise. White pages. White lies. 

Think, think, think. And then produce something, please. 

Energy enough to produce a novel, energy enough to prevent me from ever sleeping at a reasonable hour. But the words aren’t happy with their placements, like elementary schoolers whining to sit next to their best friends. I’m doing my best, Words. There aren’t many of you and it’s so dang hard to tell which of you get along and which of you don’t. 

(I’m sorry, Elementary School Teachers.)

I try so hard to do and be so many things. To be a patient mom. An easy-going wife. A less overbearing person. 

To write!

The trying is good and necessary, but maybe less important past a certain point, maybe less important than other things: say, the easy confidence and strength that issues from knowing, from remembering who I am. The stuff that allows me to listen.

Maybe if I listen, the Words will tell me where they want to sit. 

If I listen very carefully, and I sit very quietly, sometimes I can hear them whisper things…

That’s when I write best. 


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