September 20, 2019

Poem: Writer's Block

First of all, let me apologize for not posting on Wednesday, and secondly, for this not being the follow up video game post. I've been swamped with work and other obligations and haven't been able to focus on putting together coherent ideas. Also, there is a current discussion in the gaming community (namely, must games have an easy mode if they are story-focused?) that I think I ought to address in my post. That being said, the poor little post hasn't been written yet. In the meantime, please enjoy this poem I wrote a few months back.

Writer’s Block

Writer's block doesn't exist,
people say.
It isn't a thing,
isn't real.
You're just not working hard enough,
trying hard enough.
Writing hard enough,
I suppose.
But how does one write hard,
or harder?

since writer's block doesn't exist,
I wonder what it is,
that gnawing at our frazzled brains—
like an animate scribble from a pen
when you want to check if it has enough ink—
that just won't let us focus.
What is that that hum, that buzz,
that need to swing our arms and walk
and walk and walk and walk
and maybe never come back?

Since writer's block doesn't exist,
it can't be that nameless anxiety
over not measuring up to our past selves,
who once wrote often, all the time,
and easily, at that.
It can't be that nagging wonder
if our spark has been pinched out
by cold white pages,
stretching on infinitum
to the future,

Since writer's block doesn't exist,
we can't use it to describe
when our heads drown in a sleepy miasma
of sore joints and undiagnosed depression,
when we'd rather sleep and dream
telling stories to ourselves in the quiet,
instead of typing them out
with aching wrists
and piercing neck pain
and watering eyes
and clouded minds.

Since writer's block doesn't exist,
what is it that sits in the path that leads
from a series of logical plot points
to that final confrontation,
the crescendoing climax or soft denouement?
That beast, fat and dumb,
which offers no help whatsoever,
except to crawl monster-like across the page
catching its tar-black flesh
on hastily patched plot-holes,
tearing them up in its wake.

Since writer's block doesn't exist,
it can't be those crossroads we come to
where sits a ragged figure,
somehow both urchin and crone,
who sings a song of two equally delicious
and devastating fates
depending on which road our characters take.
The figure seems kindly, but gives off a feeling
that whichever way we choose
will be a one-way trip.

Since writer's block doesn't exist,
what’s to stop us from pouring out a novel
in a few months? A week?
Why not a day?
Nothing but those nameless Things
that haunt our dark imaginations,
whispering Things that shouldn't be spoken of
in front of other writers.
“I'm tired.”
“I don't know where to go from here.”
“There's something off,
and I don't know what it is.”
“It's hard to start things.”
“It's hard to end them.”
“I don't know what's wrong with me”

I don't know what's wrong with me.
I don't know...
because writer's block doesn't exist,
but for some reason,
I still can't bring myself to write.

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