Uncertainty, Stress and the Writer’s Block Wall

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 8:14 p.m.
Uncertainty breeds stress and stress breeds a general state of crappiness that is a taxi to a very unhappy place, the writer’s block wall. I haven’t felt moved to write for about ten days because of uncertainty and stress and I am trying to figure out a way to un-strand myself from this wall that I’ve been hanging out beside ever since…ever since…well, ever since I surrendered to uncertainty and stress with a white flag waving in one hand and the other tied behind my back while I was screaming “Uncle,” to uncertainty and stress.

The writer’s block wall is a very ugly place to be stuck at. It’s a wall that is immeasurably tall and wide. It’s made out of stone the size of boulders that have been carved into ugly rectangles. The stones are painted black and in between them is some sort of grout that is a particularly nauseous shade of neon green. It’s dark by the wall except for the occasional spot light that picks you out of the crowd which consists of the rest of the losers hanging out by the wall. When the light goes up on you, you’ll be greeted by raucous canned laughter that comes from everywhere and nowhere. You just want somebody else, anybody else, to be the target of this derisive mirth from an audience of what might just be successful writers who are published every couple of minutes in hundreds of different languages and who receive endless amounts of praise and royalty cheques.

This is no place for the weak but it is the place where all the weaklings wind up. The worst part is knowing what exists behind the wall, ideas - ideas of every size, shape and every colour of the rainbow. They hide behind the wall giggling and whispering. You can hear them very faintly; that’s why you know that they’re there but you just can’t get to them. If only you could climb the wall or find the place where the wall ends, your writer’s block would be gone and your confidence would return.

It’s writing about the wall that helps me. Whichever devils and demons have created the wall – these little pointy headed meanies get very pissed off when I sidestep the depressing effects of the wall by describing the wall itself as well as the sad sacks like me who wind up by the wall. The men always seem to have stubble on their faces and wear bad trench coats and their cigarettes are almost always on the verge of going out. The women are dressed much as I usually dress: men’s red checkered shirts or sweaters with years of pilling and fuzz and of course, the badly fitting jeans bought at some discount store.

If I should dare pick out one man and one woman and write a story about their meeting by the wall and how they fell in love, stopped writing and found their way in life so that they never had to return to the wall, if I tell that story, all the writer’s block demons howl in pain. They try to tell me that’s it’s crap and that everything that I have or will ever write is crap but what can they do? There’s the story and it’s just agonizingly painful to the vindictive writer’s block bastard-demons that I could find a way to circumvent the wall and them and make my way over to the ideas that dwell behind the wall.

Once you have an idea, the wall just fades and the only thing that exists for the hour or the day is the idea. Then it’s farewell uncertainty and farewell stress and shut the hell up, you stupid demons because for just a few minutes, all the distant people who’ve made my life stressful just disappear and so do you.

It’s quiet here right now. No one is demanding my attention. Uncertainty is in the back of my head and it worries me but only as the sound of a fly buzzing on the other side of the house can worry me. It may come closer. It may turn out to be a hornet that can sting me but for now, for a few moments, I can ignore it and choose to deal with the hornet when it comes to sting me. That may be the moment I pick up the swatter and smack it right down.

You demons can look pretty nasty by the wall when the light hits you a certain way but at other times, you look as ridiculous as you try to make me out to be. I may be less than five foot three but I’m bigger than you and for this moment when I’m dealing with you, you look a whole lot more uncertain and stressed than I do. Now say Uncle, you little bugger and say it louder.



This is great!!
And I agree, the wall is not a place for the faint at heart - a horrible place to be stuck in a queue, waiting for the green grass on the other side.

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