Writer’s block! The mere suggestion of it brings up the image of images of thirty pages of paper in crumpled balls around a trash can. Each page has on carefully crafted line at the top that just wasn’t good enough. Each project represents another tree murdered from a virgin forest in the attempt to encapsulate a profound thought to inflict on a reader.
For me the labor of getting thoughts crystalized with correct verbiage and spelling was the source of great angst during my days of compulsory writing. The realities of that day were that four or five typographical errors caused a page to be so irreconcilably flawed that no attempt at erasure would ever fix the smudgy look that too many changes causes to a work of art. A few of my papers in Graduate School were composed on a KAYPRO IBM XT clone with two low density floppy drives. Sins of spastic fingers or a third grade spelling vocabulary were magically erased on that smoking hot beauty as long as you could remember which “magic letter” would send the cursor to the region of offense.
My parents both had undergraduate teaching degrees from what is now Vanderbilt’s Education School. My mom had a teacher’s degree with a major in English and a minor in Library Science. Dad had a teacher’s degree with a double major in Mathematics and Physics. When they went back to Seminary they both finished Master’s degrees that represented 60+ and 90+ hours respectively. We lived all over the United States, and traveled extensively. I had a lot of opportunities for life enrichment even at an early age. For me it is difficult that my spoken vocabulary always outpaced my spelling vocabulary.
At this point I am going to take an outdated rant against some of the linguistic bologna we were given on the subject of spelling. Can I get a witness here? How many of you were told, “Just spell it like it sounds” These are lies of the devil. The spelling of words in English are a function of the societies they assimilated as they were conquered by and conquered the mainland of Europe.
Perhaps the most egregious spelling fallacy was, “Look it up in the dictionary.” I would rather read a dictionary than try to look up a word I can’t spell in a dictionary. Was I the only one who figured out if the words are listed in alphabetical by spelling; you really need to know how to spell them to look them up? One of my greatest grade school fears was falling asleep with my head cradled between the pages of the offending dictionary.
Enter the world of twenty-first technology. Words are changed in mid thought with no eraser crumbs clogging the rollers of your manual typewriter. Spelling is corrected with little squiggly lines under the dubious guess of the spelling. Now my only fear is correctly spelling the wrong word. AND WRITER’S BLOCK IS NOW MAGICALLY CURED.
It would be nice if the problem were only that simple. For me the issue boils down to lack of inspiration. My thoughts flow like a river if I want to convey a thought. If the subject is uninspiring, the trash can fills to overflowing, or the electrons are obliterated into “Delete” oblivion.
Enter the fifty two year old Sid. Somehow in my history of failed attempts at inspiration, I realize that writing is a way I can crystalize my soul into a gift that I can share with people around me. It is a little chunk of me, that I can scratch my mark on history. Written speech is such a gift. Perhaps I will use it a bit more. Then again, it has taken me about a month to finish my treatise on Writer’s Block. Maybe I will throw this away and start over. Naw! I have more to write later, and it is time to move on.