I’ve been benched. A minor knee injury has made my already sedentary life even more inactive. After getting over my original disgust and denial (“What knee injury? I am just fine. Just watch me dance…ouch!”), I decided to look at the bright side of things and view this incident as an opportunity for a period of literary awakening, enlightening and self evaluation. “I know! This is the perfect time to start writing that essay, blog post and memoir I’ve been itching to write.”
Yes, I actually said that to myself.
I began reading a book on becoming a writer, only to fall asleep three pages into the preface. I then decided that I didn’t need a stinking book to be a writer. So…I bought another book. This one is actually a journal of sorts with hundreds of titles, topics and ideas to write about. You might remember how well I did with that one from my last blog post (the upshot being that I accomplished my goal of writing more by writing that blog post.) Then, I packed myself up and transplanted myself to one of my local cute little cafe’s-journal, pens, books and all. I spent more time eating sugar cookies and sipping latte’s, pretending I was in Paris than I actually did any writing.
What the heck? Repeat after me: I want to write…I want to write.
Finally, I gave up, drove to my local library and limpped into the stacks, in search of inspiration. Art books, fashion books, quotation books, design books-I had a blast thumbing through wonderful books of all kinds, but I was no closer to writing my magnum opus than before my excellent adventures at the library.
Stumped, confused and nursing a swollen knee, I returned home feeling discouraged and ready to give up. This sucks! I want to be a writer damn it! What the heck?
Then I saw it. A book on my shelf, just sitting there (well, I actually think it was sending me a morse code signal of some kind, but we’ll talk about that some other time), somehow it got my attention and got to me sit my butt down, ice the knee and begin reading. It’s not a deep book, it’s not a political book, and it’s a book I’ve had for a few months. I’ve thumbed through it and read parts of it absent-mindedly. But on this day, it felt like essential reading and a book I couldn’t put down. And as I read the simple, easy to read entries of this book, I began feeling my writer brain waking up. I felt words floating by, phrases writing themselves and ideas jumping up and shouting “ooh, ooh, pick me, pick mee, write about MMMEEE!”
Well, I’ll darned! I went from “I want to write…I want to write” to “I HAVE to write…I NEED to write!”. What was up with that? What happened? I was confused, but soon shelfed my confusion, picked up my journal and began writing frantically. And now I’m even “writing” when I’m not actually writing. I could be walking the dog, see a butterfly float by, and a piece begins to compose itself about that experience in my imagination.
Then yesterday, while leafing through a book of quotes and wisdoms, I ran across this little nugget:
“I hate it: the dreaded Writer’s Block. Brain Constipation. Next time it hits me, I’ll be smart. I’ll seek help. I’ll remember that writing’s sibling is reading. Right over there is a book I’ve enjoyed before. I’ll reach for it…”
Aha!!! Mystery solved. writing’s sibling, reading, has come to help me like a knight in shining armor. Reading a seemingly insignificant book has opened the channels, unclogged the brain and allowed my imagination to take flight again. I am not constipated anymore!! Magnum opus or not, I’m writing again and that’s all that matters.
Ok, now I have to go ice my darn knee and write about the hummingbird I saw earlier. Oh, and the name of the miraculous book that unconstipated my brain? The World According to Mister Rogers, Important Things to Remember.