|a writer's block
and unblock tips
by Paul Vee
2:59 am I must be mad. I just popped a Turbo Truffle, one of those evil chocolate caffeine candies, into my mouth and I am brewing up some tea for...? Well, I'm supposed to write. I am supposed to be getting this fucking corporate website copy done at sixty dollars per hour. That's what I was supposed to be doing since I woke up around one or so. I got all my shit together by two, then did very little but surf the web, read, hang with Jayne my cat, etc. Then I went to Barnes and Noble and got a new road atlas to replace the Gousha Road Atlas, which I gave away and is impossible to find anymore. I went to Lucky's for a Ginger Ginseng Snap, which is supposed to give you a lot of energy, then I caught the bus home and checked my email again. Peggy called at that point and wanted to know if I wanted to eat at Kiev with her and, man, was I happy. Aside from the fact that a human being, a friend, was calling and wanted to hang with me. I was also worried that Peggy was somehow angry with me.
Ah! After that last sentence or two, I can see that I'm in for a fine, productive night of coherent writing now. Anyway, I finally came back and talked with my houseguest, the model in my bed whom I chat with as I check my email each night before going out into the living room to write. We chatted; I found a place online (Macmillan's website) to order a Gousha atlas, which I did, then I shut down my computer and came out here to...? Well, I wanted to work but, instead, I've been reading Edward Abbey's "Abbey's Road" for the last two hours while Jayne has been heartily and heavily sleeping on my lap. I finally got her to move (only after spending more quality time doing some nuzzling and whisker-watching after she got up and sat groggily on my chest for a change of pace), then I decided to go out to the local deli, the Middle Eastern one that stays open late and caters to the heavy lesbian traffic from Henrietta Hudson's next door.
On the way out, I saw another sign about the robberies in my building lately, warning us to be vigilant. At the bottom of it was scribbled a note in pen: "Another one last night - 10/9." I headed out and walked into the unseasonal, sickly humidity that's been shrouding the city for the last week. That, compounded with the smudges on my glasses, made me feel suffocated for a second. I cleaned my glasses on my black t-shirt's hem and instantly was able to enjoy the night.
Nothing notable in the deli except for the drunken, dark and thin Indian girl who walked in with a cigar ("Do you mind if I smoke in here? It's a cigar...) While I was browsing the refrigerated sections, she said "I want provolone, turkey, onions, lettuce, and mustard on rye, can you do that?" to which the little guy who had been stocking the meager cookie section said "Yes." But she apparently didn't quite believe that *anyone* could have gotten that right, so she asked him to repeat what she had said, as though *he* were the drunken one. He repeated her order from memory, not that difficult, especially for a trained sandwich man, but obviously something that she thought was beyond the scope of most mortals. This was, after all, *her* sandwich, her special creation. After he'd spat it back out at her, she said, "Ah, he's a very smart man. You can tell that he's a very smart man." She had a perfect American accent and, if she had been born in India, you wouldn't have known it by talking with her on the phone.
She turned and queried the skinny Middle Eastern guy behind the counter whether or not he'd ever been to India. He had, ten years earlier, but when she started speaking some dialect to him, he explained that he didn't speak it. This guy was smiling the whole time and he has rarely smiled at me. I wonder how he feels about the almost exclusively lesbian traffic through his bright little fluorescent bailiwick every night. Whatever. She turned and asked me, holding a bottle of cranberry juice and a pint of half-and-half for my tea, whether I had ever been to India. "I've been to many places, but never to India," I said slowly and sagely. "Well, you should go." This dark, kind of pretty woman said, as I imagined what she looked like naked. "Believe me, if I could, I would leave tomorrow," I replied calmly. That seemed to give her pause. She became a bit distracted, gauzy behind her own eyes for a second, almost oblivious to my presence or, possibly just pissed that I was so agreeable to all of her ideas. Was this the way it was supposed to be? She said, from kind of far away, "Well, I don't know if *I* would go tomorrow..." and then I faded out, paid for my liquids, said "good night, all," and walked slowly back to my apartment to write some more.
Five Tips For Busting Writer's Block
1. Just sit down and start writing. Seriously, even if you just spew drivel. If you put your ass in the chair and start moving your fingers, most of the battle is already won. Don't judge what you're writing and you'll be fine.
2. Promise to treat yourself to something nice if you meet a certain writing quota. Tell yourself you'll take a bath, have an ice cream, get a hooker or shoot some dope. Do anything that makes you feel good. This will give you a feeling of self-worth and will be a good incentive to write a little each day.
3. Take a moment to meditate on how precious life is and how quickly it can be snuffed out. Think of what you'd like to have accomplished if a bus or train were to crush the living daylights out of your tiny skull tomorrow. Don't you think you would have liked to finished that manifesto? Wouldn't you like future biographers to have something to judge you by?
4. Think real hard about suicide. Think about the sensation of falling from the top of the Empire State Building onto Fifth Avenue. Think of the ground rushing up to meet you faster than you can accelerate in the fastest car you've ever driven. Think about eternity. Think real hard. Now, wouldn't you rather just finish that article and get to bed?
5. Take some time off. Do something else. Do anything BUT write what you're supposed to write and get really wrapped up in all the other crap in your life. Eventually you'll get tired of that other crap and you'll be looking for a way to procrastinate and avoid it. The piece of writing you're currently having trouble with will seem like a mighty appealing way to escape.
Five Things You Should NEVER Do When Confronted With Writer's Block
1.Don't surf the net (but don't log off now or you won't get to read the other four tips).
2. Avoid sex.
If you're having trouble working on a certain piece, don't even think about
3. Avoid valium, heroin,
morphine, codeine, cough syrup, thorazine, nembutal, methadone,
PCP or downers of any kind. They tend to inhibit
4. Don't get up till you're done. How's that for easy?
5. Don't go bowling.
You'll find yourself crazily addicted,
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