Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In a Funk

Maybe this should say:  i try to write.

I am in a funk as a writer.  Meditation hasn’t helped to unearth anything worthy and certainly nothing notable.  Breathing slowly and deeply, repeating the mantra, Trust the process.  Something will come, simply shakes my internal editor from a long sleep, rousing her to action. Out comes just a lot of blah-blah, blah-blah, and more blah-blah-at least that is my perspective.

Sitting at my father’s knee, as he rustled the Biddeford Journal each afternoon from his well-used armchair, the coffee table would often be scattered with hand written notes from my mother and from my father.   I would sit for hours and try to emulate cursive. The slant, the large loops and curves would often elude me.  The newspaper would fold on his lap and my father would patiently model each letter.  Over and over I would practice. He would offer critiques of my form and precision and often model over and over for me.  Perfection was what I was after.  Often, it was frustration that I found.

When I was much younger, even before I entered school, I remember writing in a wave of loops. Proudly, I would read my writing as though performing before a large crowd- I would read the message to my father.  There was a sense of discovery and accomplishment and we both celebrated the approximation, my father clapping loudly.   Just what happened to dampen my curiosity and playful nature, I do not know.  As an adult writer, I must prepare myself for play and practice.  This does not come naturally and I am continuing to explore what works for me.  Some days, meditation works.  Other days, I go for a walk, paint or simply go about my day with the faith that something will well up from within.   Sometimes, I think I try too hard and it is like attempting to force a sausage through a keyhole, it just doesn’t work and the flames of anxiety and frustration burn brightly scorching my creativity.

For weeks, now I have wanted to offer a public apology, but I guess if you read other blogs, you have come to know that some posts are of better quality than others.  It’s a given.   Interestingly, I suspect that this reminder is more for me than for my readers.  Meanwhile, I will continue to cultivate a sense of discovery and curiosity toward my daily practice of writing and celebrate successive waves of loops, while we all cheer the approximations.   It sounds like it is so easy, yet it is one of the hardest things for me to do.



Terje said...

You are a writer. Words are your friends. Continue the play, practice, and exploration. The doubts and lows are natural parts of writer's life. Sometimes what seems like a blah-blah to you may hold thoughts, feelings or words that touch the reader. I like how you use your memory to help you move forward.

Nanc said...

I love how you compare the loops of your childhood and recognize how much play is a part. I feel like I get in trouble if I can't find the funny, see the funny and write the funny...but that is really how life is...very up and down. Writing really helps me through the sadness and God just sometimes comes out through the strokes of tapping.

Anita Ferreri said...

I find that the more I write, the more writerly I think and see the world. When I stop writing, I quickly resort to a more surface view of my life and things. I find that when I stop writing, I often get into a funk! Yet, like you, I really do not see myself as a writer most days. I suspect lots of this has to do with our early self-concept as learners who went to school before everyone was believed to be a writer!

Margaret Simon said...

This is a well-written piece about not writing. Sometimes the best writing comes when we just do it. Even the best (most acclaimed, that is) writers have bouts of junk writing. Keep on!

Chris said...

Such a neat story.. I especially love how your father would clap for you.

"Pushing a sausage through a keyhole..." great visual there!

Thanks for a great slice!

travelinma said...

Thanks so much for all of your comments. It is interesting that even after years of writing....adults too wrestle with considering themselves a writer.