Writing. It is strange that I can both love and hate something so intensely at the same time. I love to think about writing. I love to concoct storylines and essay ideas in my head. I even love to relate said ideas to others. But when the time comes to actually write, and I am faced with the blank page, a crisis takes place. I fumble, I fume, I fuss; I come quite near to pulling my hair out, as I watch the marvelous work of literary genius that has been safely pent up in my head collapse upon the paper like a house of cards in a hurricane.
And yet sometimes it is not this way at all. Indeed, at times it seems as though I am almost a passive observer watching the story write itself. Words, sentences, and paragraphs flow suddenly and swiftly as though some mental sluice gate has been lifted. Everything comes out right, exactly how I intend it to, and I smile to myself – the sweet smile of satisfaction – as I see my story materialize on the paper before me.
These occasions are rare, unfortunately, and I have been surprised many times – my smile of satisfaction turning to a grimace – as I realize that what I had written so effortlessly has turned out to be complete tripe. It’s so easy to write tripe. I have also been surprised on several occasions to find that some of the works that have proved to be the most difficult have turned out to be some of my most favorite. Thus writing and I continue this love/hate relationship.
The ancient Greeks knew something of this. Their poets would never think of conducting a work without first beseeching the Muses for assistance and inspiration. Indeed, the Greeks held the poet in as high esteem as the prophet: both were sparked by divine inspiration.
Yet the Muses were known to be fickle. At once lavishing a poet with literary inspiration, and then leaving him to languish in stunted creativity.
I had a wonderful idea for a post today. Thoroughly imagined and structured in my mind. I sat down at my desk this evening brimming with excitement. I wrote two sentences and the Muses decided go on vacation. I started three other posts – all of which are conveniently open on my computer as I write – yet the Muses staunchly refused to assist me. I sweated, I gritted my teeth, I listened to classical music; I even got up from my desk and walked around, took a shower, and unloaded all my writing sorrows onto my confused but patient wife. Yet the Muses had abandoned me and I was lost.
I came back to my desk and brainstormed furiously. Retrieving a notebook of essay ideas, I willed myself to write. Yet every point of punctuation pierced my confidence like a dagger.
Why, oh why dear Muses have you abandoned me? I want to post on this blog and you have left me to flounder in the wilting wasteland of writer’s block. What’s that you say? Oh, yes, this will do nicely. Thank you.