I joke about brain death, not to belittle those whose loved ones have actually experienced it, and thanks to the politically correct world we live in for forcing me to make that ridiculous qualification even though any thinking person would know I’m not making fun of or belittling those who have experienced actual brain death.
My brain isn’t persistently vegetative, but it is moribund. And to me it has the numb feeling of death.
A couple of months ago when I jump-started this blog I was full of intra-cranial excitement, I could feel my synapses firing, I was brimming over with ideas and the energy to do something with them. That lasted, by my reckoning, two months. And it’s been, I’d say, two months since I’ve felt anything even remotely resembling the urge to write. I take a notebook to lunch with me and sit and read stuff I wrote a year ago until someone comes to sit with me (take a book to lunch and I eat alone as often as not, take my notebook and I’m guaranteed at least one companion).
I rationalize: Part of this is winter-related. It’s hibernation time. It’s possible I need some Vitamin D. Part of it is my worryingly long recovery time after my little fiasco at new year (see my post I need a wife). Seriously, I felt sick for days after that, couldn’t bring myself to go near a writing implement of any kind. Except at work, where I have to, and where my output over the past couple of months has at least doubled, and my responsibilities have grown (in direct inverse proportion to my confidence that I will be able to fulfil those responsibilities). And as I become more anxious about that situation, the sludge thickens.
I am different from those in a persistent vegetative state in many respects but mostly because of my awareness of my state. I know the difference between how my brain felt in November and how it feels now. The pipes are gunked up, the thoughts come more slowly through a narrower space, they’re thicker, less fluid. The edges are blunted to the point where I can’t think, let alone think creatively.
A vacation would be a fine thing, if it wouldn’t in turn make me worry about money. Time away, with no cares and different scenery – I’m dreaming of an all-inclusive resort somewhere warm and a writing table under the trees. But who knows whether I’d be able to dial myself back to zero in time to make use of it, whether I’d be able to shuffle off my cares and woes and unwind in time to get anything done. I’d need more than the bare week I could afford, I expect.
I don’t know whether this is writer’s block or winter block or just my brain protecting itself from the shitstorm around me. But I want to cry for the me that was in November, full of possibilities. I want her back. She was good for me. Outgoing and positive. I liked her a lot.
How do you experience writer’s block? Does it start in your brain or does it start on the page?