It took me an hour to write the first word for this piece. Words didn’t come flying out of me like they do for other, more prolific writers.
I want to be prolific - for my craft to resemble a fountain fed from an inexhaustible subterranean reservoir, while my audience enjoys the wonderful play of water.
This is the case, in reality. There is a vast reserve of energy somewhere deep inside me. I’ve tapped into it plenty of times to know that it exists, unashamedly so.
The plumbing issue, so to speak, happens between the reservoir and the fountain. Instead of a magnificent jet of water, the spout gives a trickle.
Something like trying to pee by contracting the wrong muscles. It doesn’t work.
I know the solution even as I offer my complaints. I know I just have to sit with it. No words will come as long as I’m jittering about, attentive to everything and nothing. Refusing to string together two words, two sentences, two paragraphs, or - God forbid - two entire pages.
But the words come, they do. They want to come. Their very nature urges them to burst out of the writer’s pen. But only after the writer has squeezed the correct muscles. Not before.
And the muscle in question is patience. Perseverance, stubbornness, the simple willingness to sit with it. There’s the desk, the paper, the pen. I know what I have to do.
“Oh, but the writer’s block yadda yadda blah blah.” - screams every writer ever, including me.
Oh, shut up. Words come. They always do. Words have never failed me during my quiet writing career, except, of course, the times I failed them.
That’s something to mull over. Words cannot fail me. Only I can fail words.
Well, look at that. The plumbing problem’s gone. The words come, now that I’ve committed a grain of attention to my craft.
Words cannot fail me. Only I can fail words. There’s something there. A suggestion, suspicion, shadow, speck, smidge, shred of an idea.
What else would resolve itself if I decide to pay attention? To sit with the discomfort, with the roaring thoughts begging for another overdose of distraction. Persevere long enough until the doors, the pipes to the reservoir...cough.
And water plays once again.