I haven't decided whether I've been afflicted with writer's block or if I'm just a lazy bones. For five days I've been trying to work up energy to write a story about body acceptance for an anthology that's focused on positive attitudes towards weight. Yes, it's a weighty issue, and one that's plagued me since girlhood. I have some strong beliefs, some mixed feelings and, apparently, some weak-willed hesitance about actually getting the piece written.
Every time I sit down at the laptop something else seems to shout out, "Attend to me, first!" Either Natty, my newly diabetic and nearly blind dog, or Harpo, the world's most narcissistic cat, want to go outside. Or come inside.
Or I decide I'd better look at my notes just one more time for facilitating this next Thursday's book group discussion of Shakespeare's "All's Well that Ends Well." Should I bake oatmeal cookies or take the apple gingercake out of the freezer to thaw for our refreshments? Can I buy marzipan in Colville or should I drive to Spokane? After all, everybody in the Elizabethan court gorged on marzipan. Would the group settle for fudge? Weighty and time-consuming decisions.
I glance around the house. Oh, dear. The tiled entryway certainly could stand mopping. Nobody's scrawled "dust me" on the coffee table yet, but anybody could and probably should. Is it time to change my bedding? What about cleaning out those closets? Or can that wait until spring?
Should I take the afternoon off and watch a few more episodes of the BBC mystery series, "Pie in the Sky"? Oh, wait...don't I owe Jim or Annie or Honey an email? Should I write my annual Christmas letter and get it reproduced at the printers? What about addressing the Christmas cards?
Why don't I just park myself at the laptop and write that story? I think I have a title. "Elephants Never Forget."
And while I'm at it...here's a few more stories still waiting to be born:
- Black Friday madness in Arizona, for NYMB, "The First Time."
- Samuel Johnson's ghost for NYMB, "The First Time."
- Auntie Dorothy and the clergyman, for NYMB, "Sharing Secrets."
- My search for assistance from St. Teresa on Seychelle's La Digue island, for an anthology about sacred or secular pilgrimages.
- A senior high school year, joining my mom with the Jehovah's Witnesses.
- Staying at the YWCA in Chicago, 1957, for Midwest Stories anthology which tentatively is titled, "Sowing Wild Oats."
I'm heading for the laptop...I'm going to get the introductory paragraphs written on that fierce fatty tale this afternoon...and finish it and send it off tomorrow. I'm already a week late, so I owe the publisher!
Maybe it's neither laziness nor a block of any kind...maybe it's ambivalence about the topic. Do I really feel it's all right to be flabulously fat? I'll know when I write the piece. It may not make it into the book, but at least I get to express myself on a topic that's still weighing on my mind. So to speak.
Hmmmm. Shakespeare. I wonder if the good Bard of Avon ever found himself struggling with writer's block...and then I remembered his "lost years," those seven years between the birth of his twins and his emergence in the London theater scene. He may have been employed as a teacher or tutor, and lost himself in reading the Decameron...or he may have been simply stargazing. He might even have been a lazy bones, and made up for it in later years. Nobody knows.
I'm heading for the laptop...just as soon as I let Natty back in.