Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a free write that was as hard to do as 50 sit ups

I am trying to burst through a kind of a block, though it's not really a "writing block" because I don't actually believe in writer's block, not for me. I do believe I am blocked. Life blocked? Writing through is the best way for me to scrabble to the other side of whatever this is. I can taste rock dust on my tongue from all the chiseling I've been doing. One hell of a hell thick beast of a mountain. heh.

I sort of "stole" an exercise from Judy Clement Wall, who writes on Zebra Sounds, has challenged herself to write for herself, the fun stuff, for 15 minutes a day. The post to which I've linked kind of makes me feel like a loser because of the lovely things she's accomplishing in her 15 minutes. I know she wouldn't want me (or anyone) to feel like a loser, so I will set aside that bad habit like I'm trying to set aside other bad habits, at least for the moment, and share. here. my. 15. minutes. of. free. writing.

I set a timer. This was a mistake. When the time went off, even though I was aware of how much time I had left, it made me jump. I'll do it differently the next time.

11:20 a.m.

Hallways that stretch like taffy.
too much sound with the time ticking and Vampire Weekend playing on Pandora
Fortunes lost.
Tell me my fortune, but don’t tell me anything I don’t want to know. I don’t even want to know the good things. I don't want to know if I succeed, if I fall in love, if Oprah calls me up and asks to interview me, if I get married again or fall in love again, if I plant roses in my garden, if I get my house powered washed, if I lose 20 pounds, if my face starts to look younger instead of older, if my feet sink into the mud of my spring yard. I just want to know if I will get out of bed tomorrow, make one phone call tomorrow, continue the beginnings of breaking one bad habit tomorrow. That’s all. So. Tell me. I’ll even let you use my crystal ball or my tarot cards or my bag of runes.

My fingers seem to stop a lot. This stems from laziness or lack of practice. I need to warm up every day again the way I was warming up when I participated in 750 words. I lost the delicious point of that site after several months, stopped working for me. I kept it up for 185 days, more than 100,000 words, blew it one night when I wasn't feeling well and never went back. My writing practice can't be about "streaks" and badges, not right now, not when I'm so eager to find evidence that I'm a failure.

On the Internet, a girl can find so many ways to distract herself. It becomes not even a matter of procrastinating. It becomes a matter of obstacles discovered, bought, paid for, set up in front of me so that I trip over them. (It's like I'm hunting for them on purpose just to prove a point.)

All these websites where people encourage each other to find good writing processes, to stop being stuck in their own personalities – for me, they simply offer new ways to fail.

I think what I need to do is embrace my failure side, redefine failure. Or redefine myself?

I wish that when I did these free write things, I would write more fiction or poetry, but I’m not in that mode right now.

My back aches. I feel as if something is trying to be birthed out of my back. Back contractions. Back labor.

I miss my Girl. I have no point or purpose without my Girl. I have to create a purpose. But that feels too hard. Feels artificial. I am authentically useless. That’s another thing people talk about, being authentic, being genuine. So here I am authentically useless, a genuine failure.

I like that.

Authentically useless
a genuine failure.

Authentic and genuine.

Those words have no meaning.

Words like “snow shovel” or “shredder,” now, those having meaning.


  1. A j-list for you...
    1. My fingers stop A LOT.
    2. Writing wild means writing crappy. Good comes later.
    3. As sad as your words make me, I keep reading them because you're good. Not everyone is meant to write the happy. Some of us write the sad, and the trick is to make others feel it. If you're going to crack us open, don't be afraid to break us wide. You can do that.
    4. Your riff on what you want to know is poetry - so is what you don't want to know.
    5. I may be the only writer I know who believes in writer's block. I find that unnerving.

    You did it. 15 minutes. I bet most people who read my post, didn't do it.

  2. Ah, J, what a great response! 3. I do sometimes write funny, but lately, eh, I'm a morose cow. It will pass. :) I like No. 4. It's like you guessed at a secret that I can only see out of the corner of my eye. No. 5 - I used to get writer's block. I'm just too old now.

  3. One of the things I love about free-writes is reading them out loud; something about hearing a voice say the words embeds their beauty. Even if they aren't perfectly arranged, they're perfectly arranged. If I were there, I'd ask you to read it to me.