navigating the blank page

I know when I’m in the zone – when I’m writing something more than the usual meh; when I’m actually onto something – when I feel like I’m wrestling. When it’s not easy. When the words hang somewhere between excruciating and ecstatic and summoning them is laborious, at best. It’s like they are a delicate extension of my hair and they’re caught, actually more than caught, they’re knotted and teased expertly to the hundreds of individual spindles of a wire brush. Pull too hard and I rip my hair out from its roots, give up or don’t pull hard enough and well, I get stuck.  Continue reading

writer’s block… or is it?

Three hours of my day today were spent sitting in a  waiting room, blowing through a mini toilet roll one minute in every thirty, and then twiddling my thumbs for the remaining twenty-nine. No, I wasn’t caught driving after a few cheeky martinis – I was having a breath test of a different kind: a hydrogen breath test in an attempt to work out whether the wackiness of my gut owed to an intolerance to lactose (and yes it did!). But more of that another time.

Speaking of time, I obviously had a lot of it and being a writer, my mind turned to writerly things, one of which was the novel I’m working on (more of that another time too). Before I could even test out my novel’s waters with a sneaky little ankle dip though (my characters and plot have a life of their own – I never know how I’m going to find them from one day to the next) a pang of intense ‘something indescribable’ hit me in my gut and chest simultaneously – and no, it wasn’t a reaction to the test. It did, however, knock the hydrogen right out of me and left me feeling kind of… empty… no, hollow. Just like a little toilet roll but I wasn’t hollow with air. I was hollow with something else; something far more tangible and affecting. A something that ran so deep within me it had paralysed me. Literally (I couldn’t get off the waiting room couch to get a drink of water).

photo by Juan Pablo González

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