On writer’s block

First published

Right now, there’re a few paragraphs of an unfinished piece sitting inside a nice little window on my computer screen. I’ve got a classic case of writer’s block, which makes today a pretty normal day in that regard. In fact, my computer and my room are littered with story beginnings that need to be matched up to suitable endings. The problem is, I’m not a good matchmaker, and the majority of these snippets are now the fifty-year-old bachelors of the writing world. If I may borrow from Edison, genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration, and two hundred twenty-three percent sitting on your bed staring at the (rather boring white) ceiling waiting for an idea.

I tried the whole move to another environment thing, but the options proffered to a sixteen-year-old author are rather limited, and none are particularly compelling. I spent all of my first-period English class performing poetry analysis, in essence the reduction of Pablo Neruda to trite statements about themes and literary devices. We’ve done the same thing to the Odyssey, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Les Misérables — the literary equivalent of rating a wine by looking at nothing but its ingredient list. Needless to say, I didn’t walk out with any ideas.

Second period the band director walked onto his podium after finishing the day’s auditions and announced that the conditions outside were perfect for tornadoes, and how we were in the red zone on those weather maps they show every day on the news. I’ve got this extraordinary fear of tornadoes because my first four years were lived out in Nebraska, squat in the middle of Tornado Alley. It must be innate or something, because I don’t remember anything else from that far back. So I spent the rest of the period freaking out instead of trying to write, especially because the geniuses behind our disaster-preparedness program decided to put us out in the hallways instead of the percussion closet or the basement bomb shelter, and I don’t think the whole brace position thing is too effective when it comes to having a glass door shattered to pieces right behind you. The only story ideas I could think of involved tornado chasing anyway, and I don’t have the first clue about that, so I gave up for the day and decided to finish that chemistry homework I should have done the day before.

He awkwardly tip-toed onto the lawn in an attempt to avoid all of the pine needles littering the ground.

Well, it’s a start, I guess. At least I know what stepping barefoot onto a lawn full of pine needles feels like. It’s about as enjoyable as the glare currently shining onto my computer screen. The sun’s just come out from behind the clouds it’s been hiding behind all day, which I wouldn’t mind too much if it weren’t coming from right behind me. At least I won’t get swept away by any tornadoes.