I must say, I have never considered myself a flighty female, but my painful lack of perseverance in my writing rather points to that conclusion, doesn’t it?

Never have I completed a project. Never have I fully edited a story. Never have I taken a blog (yes, I’ve tried several blogs before) past a scant six months. Always a project begins with such energy, such enthusiasm, to end only with a whimper. To end? Not even to end: to drag along, to putz and plod at a ponderous pace through the back alleyways of subconsciousness, doomed to live on forever with no end, no closure, no merciful death.

Oh, for a Stygian abyss, into whose miasmal depths I could pour forth my anguish and woe …

(Yes, I’ve been spelunking again).

Emotion, immured behind Prudence’s cruel façade of pleasantry and civility, struggles to make himself* heard. Oh, frustration. Blistering barnacles. The stupor of ill-spent Time begins to creep upon him, stultifying his consciousness, causing his limbs to lose strength, lose energy, lose use. How to explain the numbness of words, when zeal and passion have fled!

Some call it writer’s block. Others, perhaps, a mere temporary lapse of time, a time for percolation rather than thunderstorms of the brain. As for me, I find the words slipping from my grasp, with that dreadful sinking feeling — that knowledge — that they will not return to continue that project for perhaps months, years, eternities.

How to catch a writer’s second wind? How to take another step, and another, and another, when you’re only halfway there? How to turn away from the social sorceress’s glow, back to the solid black and white of redlining?




*(Herself? Is Emotion Female? [what a title for a thesis! — oh, but Sayers has something along those lines already. Bother.]).

26 thoughts on “Frustrations

  1. jubilare says:

    Spelunking! I want to go spelunking! Also, is that a Tintin reference?

    I can relate. I’m trying to drive myself into finally finishing something. I begin to think it comes down to discipline, in the end. The words no longer seem to matter, at least not for the first draft, and when inspiration lags, I bounce between two projects that are closely related, but different. “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.” It’s the only way, save giving up. I don’t think God would have given us the deep desire to write if it wasn’t because he wanted us to, but as with every gift, it’s up to us to use it.

    • Yes, it’s Tintin! Good catch! I have a horrid tendency to do that … make random, obscure references and leave them dangling …

      Do let’s go spelunking. I’ve never been, but it sounds like such fun.

      Sigh. Yes, discipline. And you are completely right about God giving us the desire as well as the gift itself. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

      • jubilare says:

        Good quote. I always loved Haddock’s take on swearing. So much more interesting and educational than more conventional outbursts. Making random references has a long and prestigious tradition behind it, though it does carry the risk of not being understood… perhaps that’s part of the fun, though.

        I’ve been caving, but not spelunking, which is something I should remedy. I love caves and I live in one of the most cave-ridden states in the U.S., so I have no excuse other than time.

        Any time. No doubt I’ll need encouragement soon enough. It seems to go like that.

      • Do let’s go spelunking together sometime! And we can blister barnacles to our hearts’ content 🙂

      • What’s the difference between caving and spelunking (I’ve never done either!)?

  2. jubilare says:

    In my head, at least, caving is sort of lime meandering, only in caves. Spelunking is more involved, like serious exploring with ropes and such.

  3. jubilare says:

    I mentally live in a ton of places, wishfully I would live about three hours’ drive to the East of where I do now, and in actuality I live in Tennessee. All of that can pretty much be extrapolated from my blog. While I love to visit other places (including Merry England) I’ve yet to find anywhere else I would care to live, though I could probably happily stay in Florence, Italy, for about a year. My roots at home run right down into the limestone. 🙂

    • Ah, see, I was born a wanderer, with the ink of passport stamps coursing through my veins. I find it difficult to stay long in one place, though I have many friends who have contentedly lived in one place their whole lives, and I can appreciate their sense of stability and belonging. I am usually happy wherever I am, though I am always on the lookout for adventure!

      • jubilare says:

        Out of curiosity, did you move a lot as a child? It isn’t always the case (some folks must be natural nomads) but most of my friends who are drawn to wander moved about a lot when they were young.
        Personally, I love seeing new places, but I hate the traveling aspect. Ironic. I’ve been to England and Canada twice, Scotland, Austria, Germany, Italy, China, Cancun, Japan,and Mexico… That’s all I can think of for now. I’ve only recently started to travel about in the U.S., but there are plenty of places abroad I want to visit (not to mention re-visit). Alas for lack of resources and time.
        As for my deep roots, I am not sure how much is natural home-body-ness and how much is the fact that I am deeply in love with the landscape of Tennessee. The thought of living anywhere else makes my chest ache. If I am not careful, I will go off onto some lyrical essay or something. I’d better stop now. 😉

      • Yes, as a matter of fact; we were always in the US, but we did move around a lot. I enjoyed it, and I still enjoy it. I even enjoy the travelling part 🙂

        You certainly have me beat when it comes to countries — and continents! I’ve never been anywhere but North America and Europe. Someday, though, I will visit ALL THE COUNTRIES.

        I’ve never been to Tennessee, so I will have to add it to my list. Is it anything like Kentucky? I did spend a summer in Kentucky once, and that was certainly picturesque.

  4. jubilare says:

    My parents always told me that I should travel whenever I got the chance, and I have.
    Where have you been in Europe and North America? Hah! I am reminded of Yakko Warner’s countries of the world song. Good luck and God speed!

    Some parts of Kentucky are like some parts of Tennessee, as far as I have seen. Both are beautiful patchworks. I have a fair number of photographs of TN on my blog, if you poke around. 🙂

    • Let’s see: England, France, and Germany (briefly) … some 18 states, most of which are on the East Coast or in the Midwest. I’ll have to poke around on your blog and see some Tennessee 🙂

      • jubilare says:

        Where in Germany and England, if I may ask?
        Or visit some time. 🙂

      • Ok, well, I cheat when I say Germany. I was there when I was little, but I don’t remember any of it … though I have, in recent years, flown through the Frankfort airport. It’s fun to read all the signs in both German and English. England: Somerset and Oxford. Briefly in London. One-day outings to Wells, Winchester, Blenheim, Cotswolds, Windsor … somewhere else, too, and I can’t think of the name. I have TWICE driven past Stonhenge, and have yet to stop and visit! — ditto Tennessee 🙂

  5. blueroses says:

    Nothing more frustrating than coming up with a great idea, only to find that someone else has said all there is to say on the topic.
    Just imagine how hard it will be to do anything original in 100 years!

    • jubilare says:

      Is anything ever really original?

      • “There is nothing new under the sun.” I doubt it. Though we can take an old theme and give it a new setting, a new twist, a new perspective. Rather like Nash’s original idea 🙂

      • jubilare says:

        True. I think that writers (and sometimes artists) put too much emphasis on newness, when it is really the old things, the elemental and common things that move us. No one, or almost no one, really wants something new. We wouldn’t be able to connect with anything truly new. What we want is something that isn’t hackneyed, obvious, trite, or mundane. I feel like my words aren’t quite getting at what I am trying to say, but somehow I think you already know what I am trying to say. 😛

      • I hear ya 🙂 We want new variations on an old theme. We like the familiar, but the unusual interests us, so a good story should have a mix of both.

  6. jubilare says:

    Nice! What’s Somerset like? You’ve been to different places (save Oxford and London) than I have in England. What was your favorite?
    I spent time in Leeds and surrounding area, and Yorkshire.

    • Oh, I would love to visit Yorkshire! And Leeds. And the Lake District. Some day 🙂

      Somerset is rolling green hills and winding dirt roads and snug little cottages and tall dark hedges and dogs and horses and Wellies and pheasant hunting and tea and cider and crepes and rain and mist and fog and sun and wind and … lovely. That about sums it up.

      Oxford. By all means, Oxford. Somerset comes a close second … perhaps because I spent the most time in those two places? Perhaps if I were able to spend more time in the other places, they would garner more favor as well. Nevertheless, they were all wonderful, each in their own way, etc., etc. and I will never turn down an opportunity to visit any of them! But yes, Oxford.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s