Posts Tagged ‘Commitment’

Yesterday, I came across a quote that said there is no such thing as writer’s block. It claims that what hinders us is instead fear, procrastination, perfectionism and laziness. And not just laziness, but pure laziness.

I’m interested to know what you think?

Peeking from behind slightly parted curtains, I sheepishly declare that whether you throw exploding tomatoes or rub browning mashed banana in my face, I’m just going to have duck down and simultaneously stand (difficult to do) united with Thrasher.

There’s many a time I sit down full of serious hope and intention with absolutely no idea what’s to come of it. But that’s the thing – if I let my vacant brain off the hook – if I never sat down just because I had nothing, nothing would ever emerge.



Of course there’s fear. Very different from the fear that you’ll awake to an unwelcome stranger in the middle of the night or that you’re going to run out of gas going through a high-traffic tunnel. It’s the fear that you’re choosing to play the fool, that someone will laugh, find your work a shabby replica or perhaps worse, all too authentic.

No writer, with any living acquaintance, wants to pen dark, risqué or just plain screwed up and have people believe that that’s what’s really thought or felt by them.

You see no one, other than another writer, can truly understand a writer’s thought process. It’s that what if that’s been so over-exposed. And, I almost hate to bring it up again, but in the end, that is what it’s all about. That little catalytic question that brings a writer to a thought where they, before deciding to write it all down, pray no one ever finds out they conjured it up.

I think this may be the true meaning of irony.

Procrastination. Well damn, that’s an easy one. Hmm, should I tackle the crap that I know I can get done successfully, or should I sit down and type for hours, hoping that I get at least one half decent sentence out of it? Should I make sure my family has food and clean clothes, or should I while the hours away writing something that no one may ever read? Should I show anyone what has turned out to be definite drivel? No? Okay, what do I say I’ve been doing for the past six hours instead of making sure the kids were picked up and the bills were paid then?

Enough said on that.

Perfectionism. I have countless closets, nooks, crannies, projects and plans that remain untackled due to a silent and highly unrecognized, misunderstood affliction called perfectionism. I literally have to talk myself into starting something that I know I only have twenty to thirty minutes to work on. I, to my core, feel that I should not start a project that I don’t have to time to see through, not only to completion, but to painstaking precision. I will literally allow a stain to stay on my floor for a week because I don’t have the time to get down on my hands and knees and scrub the entire wood surface (which includes a kitchen, dining room, hallway, living room and front hall) rather than just swiftly wiping up the singular mark that lies right in front of the kitchen sink. So, you can imagine my dilemma, not having a solid six months to sit down and write an entire novel without stopping.

Perfectionism is show-stopping.

Laziness. This is the one and only point I’m iffy on. Actually, a little more than iffy. This one irks me. Speaking for myself, and any other writer I’ve ever interacted with, whatever the task or tribulation at hand, we’d love to toss it aside to write. Which I guess, could be deemed a different kind of lazy, but that’s not what Thrasher is talking about here. He’s referring to writers who are lazy about writing.

I believe, if you feel in any way, like you couldn’t be bothered to write, then you’re not a writer. A true writer should be thinking about their next opportunity to write any time their eyes are open and they are breathing.  There. I said it.

It’s up to us. No one is cheering us on to be what might be viewed as a sedentary slop. Not a soul is saying, Hey, sit on down. Chill with your laptop. We get it. You’re writing. In reality, many are biting their tongues on words like aloof, rude, lazy and antisocial.

We may not yet be Khaled Hosseini, Stephen King or Danielle Steel, but if we don’t stand up and sit down, we never will be.

Inspiration exists

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His hand, light as a feather and thin as paper slides off his chest onto the sheets beside him.  Blue veins press at waxy skin, somehow still managing to pulse pointless life-giving blood through his withering form.

So yellow, yet so pale.

Stiffness in every joint, I shift my chair to face the side table.  The bottom drawer becomes a resting place for my feet and I allow my head to idle, just for a moment, on the back of the vinyl chair.  The once unwelcome din of the lights overhead has become a comfort in these last silent days.  I touch his arm, ever so slightly.  He is still.

The hand so effusive, the body so hollow.

The walls are littered with drawings, cards…photographs.

“Get well soon, Grandpa.  We love you!” and  “If anyone can beat this, it’s you, Paul.  Stay strong!” 

A picture Kaylee insisted I take when his visits were finally limited to only me.  Standing in front of the hospital entrance, she was sporting a gap-toothed smile and waving; “Tell him I can still love him all better from here,” she’d said.

Composed in the midst of hope, reading them now is painful.  They had been beacons of light, splashes of color in the face of a dreary disease, now, months later, they’ve waned alongside him.

Sixty-seven years of life, laughs, labors and love all coming to an end.  Our lifetime within a lifetime.  Over.  Just like that. 

I turn on the soft lamp I’d brought from home and get up to quiet the bright overheads.  He stirs, ever so slightly as I walk to the switch near the door.


His voice shocks me.  It’s been so long, days and days since I’ve heard it.  It’s dry and haggard, breathy.

“I’m here, honey.  Right here.”

“Abi.”  His eyes are the only sign of life on his dormant body, fluttering and frantically searching for my face.

“It’s okay,” I tell him.  “Rest now, love.”

“I haven’t…” he stops, unable to catch his breath.

I cup his hand in both of mine and squeeze each finger soothingly.

“No, not now, Paul.  Please, you need sleep.”


“Shh, quiet now.  There’s plenty of time for talking,” I fable, turning him into a child being told the tooth fairy is real.

“There was a time,” he chokes, “a time when…I failed you.  I failed myself.  Not a day passes…if I could change it, Abi.” 

I stroke his face, remembering the many moments he’d done the same for me, his skin cool, clammy…expiring.  Tears course over his temples and darken parts of the blue fabric covering his pillow.

“Paul, you’re upsetting yourself.  There’s no need, sweetheart.  Close your eyes.”  With the tip of my finger, his lids are gently drawn shut one at a time.

I climb up onto the bed, pull him in and lay whispering sweet nothings and savory somethings, his sharp hip poking my belly.  While recounting the first years of our courtship I laugh and cry, the silly card we’d had a fight over, the night Paula was born, the day we’d gone on a shop and ended up stuck in the snow for hours.   We ate through the groceries we’d thankfully had in the trunk while waiting for the tow truck.  Breaking off cheese and ripping chunks of bread, we sang all the songs we knew the words to and some that we didn’t.

I talk about how he patiently taught me to swim when I was terrified of the water and convinced me I was good enough to go to art school.  I tell him that he’s been an incredible father and that I’ve been so very thankful to have him in my life.  I tell him all these things, but I save one.

I make sure the intermittent beeps have become one long and uninterrupted strike piercing the room with finality before I say; “I know about her, Paul.  I’ve always known.  She just didn’t matter to me as much as you did.”

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