Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
I have a major case of writer’s block. Sure, I scribble furiously 40-plus hours a week at my job – I have deadlines, you know – and the stories get written; my work gets done. But lately, when I sit down to write anything personal, my fingers move; letters spill out onto the screen only to form words that just lie there, like a panting St. Bernard on a sweltering summer day.
I am stuck. Poor Michele, who has had actual excuses for being unmotivated, uninspired, and just plain exhausted, brilliantly whipped out two excellent posts on a single day last weekend, making my frustration complete.
What is the problem? For me, writing is practically like breathing. I used to be able to write humor, but the funny has fled. I’ve done a lot of angst here on these pages. Deep, dark, finding-myself discovery angst. The angst, too, has receded. Have I found myself? Not quite yet, but the closer I get the less interesting it seems.
I’ve tried all kinds of topics – my continually disappearing pedometer, which has an unnatural affinity for water; my uncontrollable gas fireplace; an homage to the late great pop icon Davy Jones and the long-unthought-of teen idols of my youth. I started writing about a joyful, rare week of unbridled spontaneity, but lost steam after 100 words or so. The spontaneity lasted only slightly longer.
And that’s the thing: it’s not just the writing. I seem to have a sudden case of life block. Once running at a sprint, I have gradually slowed until I am now at a complete standstill, waiting for I don’t know what. But some instinct tells me to hold back, bide my time, hang on for a just moment longer.
“Liminality” is a term I stumbled upon this morning. It’s the “mood that prevails when a transition is imminent or a threshold beckons.” It’s the time when the old has dropped away and the new has not yet taken hold.
The world around me holds its breath, waiting for the unknown to show itself. And so, here in limbo, I wait with it: for an idea, for inspiration – for a sign that, once again, it’s time to be moving on.