I’m not sure if I have nothing to say—or too much to say. Either way, I’m on an informal hiatus from writing. The words just kind of stopped. Maybe it was the shock of how quickly Covid changed my life: robbing me of theater, my job, my rituals. Or maybe it’s the sheer horror of watching the shitshow going down in the White House. Or maybe it’s that my state has gone up in flames, putting me on evacuation alert for days on end, forcing me to imagine losing my home—our home that we just (ourselves) finished painting—while sheltering helplessly in place as others lost their homes. Or maybe it’s the lingering smoky aftermath of the fire dulling my brain, urging it to turn away for its beloved sentence making. I have no idea the cause, only that I have little desire to write these days. But, it’s the third Wednesday of the month, and I made a commitment to blog, so here I am, feeling like an imposter writing about writing.
And why should I feel like an imposter? I’ve been writing pretty much nonstop for years. Five published novels! Shit! And another in the hopper. And not only that. Lately, I’ve been reading back on all my old journals and letters. I have them going back all the way to eighth grade. Maybe that’s why I’m not inclined to write right now. Maybe I’ve used up all my thoughts! Maybe the coffers are empty. Which is kind of exciting to think about because that means I get to refill them.
And I have to admit, in this absence of writing, I’ve been doing lots of other things. As I said, we painted our house. That was big. I crocheted a blanket for my sweet nephew who just moved into his first solo apartment. I’ve catalogued all of the Fun Institute’s improv exercises. I’ve just begun painting the kitchen. I’ve been gardening up a storm. Riding my bike. Doing yoga. Playing my ukulele. Just started to learn a bit of Qi Gong. In essence, I’ve been living instead of writing about living. It feels good.
But I do love to make up stories and know I will get back to it soon. In the meantime, this is what you get, a writer who isn’t currently writing. And I don’t think it’s writer’s block, which I don’t really believe in anyway. But what I gather from those who claim to experience it: it’s the desire to write without the… discipline? ability? I’m not really sure. But here’s the thing. I really have no desire to write at the moment. Although, truthfully, I am enjoying this little ramble. But you see where I’m going with this, it’s not writer’s block if you don’t want to write. Otherwise, you could say every non-writing person in the world, whether they want to write or not, is experiencing writer’s block, which is just plain silly.
And here’s what I think about writing. If you don’t want to do it, don’t. If you do, do. Unless you’re under contract. That’s a whole other country. Or unless you’re making a living at it. That too: another country. Otherwise, write for the joy of it. Write because you want to. And don’t head-trip yourself about it. Life is challenging enough without your head-trips, without your “I shoulds.” (Like an acting-teacher friend of mine used to say: “Don’t should all over yourself!”) But really, there are so many other fun ways to spend your time.
So that’s it for today. Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Have you ever just stopped doing something that you used to do all the time? Have you experienced writer’s block? Or ever just stopped writing? Or maybe you want to tell me about your pet bunny. Really, I’m open to it all, because these days, I’m just sitting back and taking it all in, wondering, What on earth next? So hang in, hang on, and remember to live the love, it’s all we’ve got!