Writing is something I never thought I would do. In the dedication of my first book, I thanked the junior college English teacher who actually, briefly, encouraged me in the notes of turned-in poetry and prose assignments for her composition class.
Then I did nothing with words for another 25 years.
With what’s left of this morning, I’ll be writing.
Writer’s block is my friend. The reason I’m a poet is because of a horrible case of writer’s block about 10 years ago. I thought I was on my way to being an internet-famous journalist, back when there was such a thing. I wrote for a site, now long gone, and after a few years of doing that, I simply ran out of words. Looking back, I’m pretty sure what I ran out of was bullshit. At least that one particular vein of bullshit I had been mining for hits and likes on that site. Given how small the pond, for a time, I was a pretty big fish in it, and the idea that I would just run out of ideas was something I wasn’t ready for. I don’t think anyone is ever really ready for a lie to catch up to them. The truth was, I wasn’t cut out for that kind of writing. Deadlines and promises and the responsibilities of a byline had sucked all the clever right out of me. When I sat down in front of the screen to write, all that was left was a head full of feelings, and a string of incomplete sentences to describe them.
So after a while, I did just that. I wrote in short sentences. I used small words. And before I wrote, I felt. Because these were no longer word counts, they were what counts. I sucked at it, but the what counts started bleeding out of me. My writing changed, and eventually, I changed. A little. I’m still changing.
Except for the process of how I write poetry. I still do that the way I did when I was a wannabe, writer’s blocked journalist. On a computer. It wasn’t until the last year of scribbling in a journal (see the earlier post, Hour 2, for that story) that I could write anything poetic other than by typing.
My last holdover from those bad old days.
So in this hour, after what feels like a whole day has already passed, I write. It’s a loose habit now. Less about discipline and more about need. I’ve written three books this way so far. Not out of responsibility, but out of desperation. All those years ago, when the words stopped coming, it was because there was something more important than words on the way to replace them. A lifetime of thoughts and feelings, love and pain, and the need to translate them into a language I had never known before.
This may take more than one hour today.
© Copyright 2018 William S. Friday