The well is dry, people. Good thing it’s Labor Day and few of you are reading. I don’t really believe in writer’s block, but as I sit here trying to brainstorm blog topics, I’m coming up empty. Oh, sure, I have ideas. But they’re either too big – marriage, happiness, finding your passion in life, or too small and trivial – why Suburgatory’s Dallas and Dalia Royce are 2 of my favorite characters on TV, why I hate celebrity fragrances.
When I work with the students in my writing classes, I often suggest they start their essays with a scene. A setting, some dialogue, some action unfolding… something to draw the reader in. I have a couple of scenes rattling around in my head, but I’m not sure what I want to do with them yet so I’m shelving them.
So… read any good books lately? I have: Anna Quindlen’s memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. I really enjoyed it, particularly the early chapters on marriage, motherhood, and all the “stuff” we accumulate in our houses.
Movies? I don’t really have time to watch many movies but I did catch part of “Julie & Julia” the other night, and my mother enjoyed Meryl’s latest, “Hope Springs.” What makes her such a good actress? Is it that she fully immerses herself in each role? Is it that she appears not to be trying too hard to act and so you forget she’s acting? Or is it because she went to my alma mater? Surely that’s it.
Speaking of Julia Child, my 6yo has been asking me a lot of WHY questions related to food. Why are eggs good for you and marshmallows are not? Why do we have to eat healthy food? Why do we have to keep eating, meal after meal, day after day? The best explanation I can come up with is comparing it to putting gas in a car. You put in the fuel so the car can run. It burns up the fuel and then you need more. Makes sense, right?
I suppose writing’s the same way. You’ve got to feed your soul before you can pour it out onto the page. The trick is, everybody’s soul food looks different. For some people it’s solitude. For others it’s writers’ groups. For some it’s music or art or prayer. For me it’s a combination of sleep, exercise, quiet, and inspiration, which could be a song, a magazine article, or a snippet of overheard conversation.
When I was single and childless and didn’t know how good I had it, I grew frustrated sitting at my desk day after day, trying to make things happen. So I started taking Mondays off to go to museums and parks, libraries and lunch with friends. (One of the perks of self-employment.) I can’t really do that anymore, since my time is now measured in school days and babysitter fees, but I can steal an hour or two occasionally.
The other day I found myself with 50 min. to spare before school pickup. I treated myself to a pedicure. It didn’t exactly get my creative juices flowing – as evidenced by this post – but I think it’s part of the refueling process nonetheless. And it did give me some time to ponder the reasons I’m utterly annoyed by celebrity fragrances. Stay tuned…