Musings of the Blocked Writer

March 8, 2017
Custom User Avatar
More by this author

I stare at the paper. It is a dumb thing, plain and white, waiting for words. I don’t see it as a piece of paper. I see at as the Enemy. It is an evil thing, mocking and condescending. “Why don’t you try? Try to write, I can guarantee that what you write will be terrible,” taunts the Enemy. I write:
A piece of paper
A trivial thing
Yet all I see
Is a thing of hatred
The Enemy of the Writer
She writes
Yet the words
And the paper
I glare at the paper. Dumb thing was right. As a critically acclaimed writer, writer’s block shouldn’t be a problem. I can find inspiration in many things. A slab of concrete. A blue jay’s song. Even a child’s tears. Yet here I am, glaring at the Enemy, because I have writer’s block. When I reread what I write it is terrible. Just like what I just wrote when giving in to the pressures of the Enemy.
I sigh. Writer’s block is a trivial thing. My parents deny it. “You’re stressed. Try to relax.” They tell me. I know the truth though. I have writer’s block. I have tried everything to cure it. Meditation. Reading poetry. Walking the park with my dog. Researched ways famous writers cured writer’s block and tried their methods. Listening to music. Attending a concert. Nothing helps, my poetry is flat, my stories are inanimate, and the chapters I’ve written for my book are confusing. Is it time to throw in the towel on my writing career?
I crumple up the paper and throw It as hard as I can until it hits the wall. Five feet from my target. “Good God, what is wrong with me? I can’t even hit the trashcan with a paper ball anymore.” I grumble as I go to grab the crumpled paper. “Woof!” I look up last second as blur of black and white  jumps on me, pushing me to the floor.
“Jazz, seriously? Can’t you ask me nicely to go out? I can’t keep begging the land lord to let us keep the apartment!” I glare at Jazz my two- hundred pound Great Dane, as she stares at me with an innocent expression in her large brown eyes that I can’t stay mad at. Jazz was one of the few beings that I could love after everyone betrayed me. Laughing, I pick myself up and throw the paper away (It was still in my hand from when I fell). “You win. Let’s get out of here, J.”
After fighting to get the leash and collar on the excited Dane, I had to feed the Macaw to keep her quiet since the land lord doesn’t exactly know I own her as he barely tolerates the dog (I am sure a loud bird would definitely get me evicted) and I leave.
The autumn breeze was peaceful in New York. My caramel curls whipping my face and the leaves crunching as I walked angrily; my icy, cold, blue eyes glaring at everyone on the street, frightening children and their mothers alike.  I thought about how I got here. My parents and I had lived in a small town in middle of a city and the country in Michigan by the name of Caro.  For the longest time, the only job I could see myself in was working at the family florist, Fullan- Acito Flowers. I wrote for fun, until I decided to publish my book.
The book was a bit of prick in the side now. I wrote it in high school, trying to get over how cruel my fellow pupils were. It detailed how depressing bullying was and what it did to the person. The main character, a girl named Tessa, was severely bullied and eventually hospitalized after a suicide attempt. I hadn’t wanted it published, but my mom read and published it for me. “Jess,” she said, with proud tears in her soft, blue eyes, “Think how many lives you could save, think how you could help people with experiences like yours.” She eventually convinced me and I agreed to publish it.
It was a hit. I instantly had critical acclaim and movie offers. My agent was happy. My parents were proud. I wasn’t though. If any of my tormenters read it, they would that it wasn’t exactly fiction. I had agreed to publish it under the condition that it was called a work of fiction. That is why I changed all the names and the places. Everything except for the insults, the jeers, and the events. Not even the suicide attempt was fiction. I wish it was.
At first everything was normal. I could work at the Fullan- Acito Flowers without people asking me about the book and I could write. All the time. Words would whine in my mind until I grabbed a pen, and anything to write on. (My mom got me a journal to keep in my purse so that my arms didn’t have poetry and story ideas on them.) It was easy. Then it changed.
My best friend turned worst enemy noticed the similarities. “Didn’t the cheerleaders always call you an ‘ugly nerd who shouldn’t exist’?” or “Didn’t you slit your wrist in your own suicide attempt?” Eventually I told her what I had done. Amber was understanding and kind. “Jess, I am here for you. I can’ t believe I didn’t notice the first time I read it!”Her brown doe- eyes and blond hair accented how innocent she looked, so sad and angry at herself. Keyword there was was. She “accidently” let it slip to her boyfriend, who told everyone in our town.
I didn’t believe her when she told me that she didn’t mean to tell them. “Jess, how long have we been friends? Best friends? I wouldn’t do that to you! You’re my sister from another mother!” Even it was an accident the damage was done. I walked into a grocery store to get pity and my old enemies just tormented me at work. “Love my description, Jess. You make me seem like a hellion when I was trying to help you.” Sneered head cheer- loser, Jenna Carpel, “You get an award winning book and money and I get a bad reputation.”
I suppose that is where my writer’s block started. I closed myself off, not talking to anyone, barely eating. Then my agent offered me a place in New York. “It would be easier for me to reach you,” she said, “And if anyone asks they’ll have to answer to me.” So I left. I took my clothes and my beat- up Mustang and I left. My parents gave me Jazz as good- luck in New York present.
I stop walking for a minute, and watch two squirrels fighting over a peanut that one of the venders in Central Park sold. Dumb things. They only had to worry about food, sleep, and offspring.  “What if I hadn’t published that damned book?” I mutter quite loudly to no- one in particular, awarding myself several strange looks from a mother and several other onlookers. “Bet you I would still have my best friend. I wouldn’t have writer’s block. I sure as Hell wouldn’t be stuck in this hole of darkness!” I growled to myself as I keep walking, not looking where I was going on the path, just wanting to go somewhere.
I flop on the grass and scowl at the sun, as if it had cursed me with this. I unhook Jazz’s leash, knowing she won’t go far, and glare. “Would I really go back in time and change everything?’ I mutter to Jazz, who decided that a leaf was much more interesting than my morose thoughts. I glare and I reflect, allowing myself to feel the year’s worth of frustration, anger, and depression all over again.
My cell phone rings. Cher Lloyd’s Oath.  “I have got to change that damned ringer.” I grumble.
“Yes, Amber?” I snap, mad at her for spilling my secrets and mad at myself for answering.
“Hi, Jess” Her voice was soft and strange. Sad even.
“What’s wrong?” I demand. I may be angry but I still love her like my sister.
“I was just thinking about how I miss the good old days.”
“Me too, Amber, me too.”
“I miss having my best friend, Jess. You deserve to know that when the town found out I didn’t do it.”
I heard this before. Time and time again, every time she calls and I answer.
“I mean, Max had dumped me the same day that the Jenna let it slip at the newspaper office. I would never do that.”
This made me stop and listen. “What do you mean Jenna let it slip?” I questioned warily.
“Jenna told my boss who wrote the article in the town paper.”
“What article?” I demand, awakened from my reverie of hatred and narcissism.
“He even interviewed Jenna, and you know how everyone thinks she is a good reliable source. I have no clue how you can say that I told the town since I wasn’t even in the article.” She continues, ignoring my obvious cluelessness.
“Amber, just SHUT UP!” I demand. “What damn article are you talking about?”
“I assume you read it.”
“I avoided that newspaper like it was the Bubonic plague, you know that.”
“Huh?” Amber’s voice was so confused and lost that I felt bad for yelling at her.
“Amber, I was told by everyone in town that you were the one who told Max who told everyone else in the town where nothing interesting occurs.”
She starts laughing, and soon I do too. “I can’t believe I fell for the gossip vine of Caro, Michigan.” I say, practically inaudible because of my giggles.
“I can’t either Jess, you were always the practical one in this sisterhood.”
We continued to talk for an hour or so, with Jazz snoozing in the sun beside me, and the sun shining happily down on us. “I am glad we talked, Jess.” Amber’s bubbly tones helping me overcome the hatred of the past year.
“Me too, little sis, me too.” I reply using the nickname I had given her eight years ago, when we were sixteen.
“I have to go. Call me tomorrow, ‘kay?” I could hear the smile in her voice.
“Will do. Oh, Amber? Thanks.” I say quickly, right before she hangs up.
“What for?” Her quizzical tone making me smile.
“For helping clear my writer’s block. And giving me my bestie back.” I say, right as I start to smile even more.
Amber laughs and hangs up, leaving me to my quiet thoughts once more.
“The book was right.” I say with a smile. “My last paragraph was right”
I reflect as I quote my own book to myself. “’Hatred and regret is pointless. All we have is tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, something Shakespeare would frown upon. All we have is those we love and those we hate. All we have is the left over promise of memories and ink. We have to achieve what we want. We must forgive and forget. If we don’t, we are just victims turned into tormenters. Without forgiveness, we are just as bad as the deeds done to us.’” I stop, patting the ground for my bag. “’The past is the past. What is done is done. We have to dwell on the future now. For we never know when our great and terrible purpose of death will come.’” I quote solemnly, as I dig in my purse for my favorite pen and paper. “I have to write for the future now.” I reply to myself, as the words start to come to my mind.
I smile to myself and allow the tears to come. All the pain and sorrow, all the dismal thoughts of the last year they leave through my tears. As I write, I allow myself to imagine what will come.
My best friend moving into the second bedroom of my apartment and cheering me on as I write, reading my works and smiling. My parents, proud, as my book is turned into a movie. My enemies  trying to stop me but they can’t. My land lord’s shocked expression when he discovers my Macaw. I am happy and free and proud. I am beautiful. I imagine the interview where I stop trying to hide and lie. I imagine telling the world the truth behind the book.  I imagine the novels, the stories, the poems that I publish. Some are critically acclaimed and others are shunned. I allow myself to be happy and hold my head up high.
I read over what I just wrote with a smile, tears still wet on my cheeks:
To be happy is to be free
To be free is to forgive
To forgive is to be happy
Therefore, to be happy
We must forgive
We must forget
We must love
We must hurt
We must allow the emotions to come
We must allow the events to occur
We must forgive
We must forget
We must be humans
Unforgivably humans
I smile at the paper. Once my Enemy, now my Friend. “Sorry, old chum.” I think to the paper. I hadn’t realized I was at the lake until now. I smile at the lake, and I say:
“Life is only as beautiful as I could let it. Writer’s block doesn’t exist, it’s a block in the writer’s heart, not her talent. We must forgive in order to move on. And when we do,” I stop and smile at the sky. “We must forget.”

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback