Stories, Poems and Other Stuff...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Writer's Block

Sometimes I think it is hard to stare at a blank screen and try to come up with something, a story, a point of view, inner ramblings, anything that shares what goes on in my head.

This is and isn't one of those hard moments.

Writers throughout history have been plagued from periods of writer's block. I would like to say that I am in that group of writers that have been besieged brain constipation, but I am not. No, my problem is not in my lack of brain regularity, but in my lack of time. You see, life is hindering my desire to progress as a writer. For whatever reason, my wife, children, landlord, utilities companies, garbage man and others require that I have an income in order to either feed them or pay them for services that I need. I could go the way of Thoreau and move to some pond and build a crude log cabin and live off the land. However I am pretty sure that my family wouldn't go for it. Sure I could initially lure them out under the guise of a family camping trip, but by day three they would think somethings up and bail on me and my Euell Gibbons lifestyle.

So I work to make money.

Over the years I have done this in a variety of ways. I started out working in auto parts and as a mechanic. I worked as generator mechanic while in the army and continued working as a mechanic a couple of years after being discharged. During this time I found my voice, so to speak, in writing. I knew that the hard work of being a mechanic was not conducive to writing on a regular basis. So I embarked on a career change. House painter.

I painted for about a year with a friend of mine in and around Chicago. During this time I wrote like a crazy man. I wrote about everyday things that amused me. My problem during this time was my living situation. I had been couch surfing and never really had the ideal place to work on my craft. This resulted in some very incomplete stories that, when in a fit of religious fervor, made it into a fifty five gallon filing cabinet never to be seen again. Sometimes I find myself entertaining the thought of archeologists digging up these discarded papers and I become famous once again (after being famous while alive of course) to a whole new generation of readers.

Ah, megalomania.....

Somehow I made it to Southern Indiana to live with my father, in a cabin, on the Wabash River. This was the start of my Bohemian period. During this time I wrote with such a fervor that at times I was unable to read my scribbles. I also went to college studying radio and television broadcasting. I ended up working at a radio station in Olney Illinois, a town made famous by white squirrels. I think my radio career lasted eight months. I was fired for telling someone that I wasn't paid enough for what they were asking me to do. Back to couch surfing I went.

This period of my life lasted a few years and, after the birth of our first child, I found myself in need of money. I took the first job I could find, working at a group home for developmentally disabled adults. I loved that job. We eventually moved to Champaign Illinois where I took a job at a group home for the mentally ill. It was there that I realized that I like mentally ill people. The job was great, a little demanding time wise, so I was unable to write anything larger that poems during that time, all of which got filed into some landfill.

Eventually I stumbled into plumbing and construction. Since then I have had periodic bursts of writing, even being published on a couple of online magazines. But, I have never reached the pace I would like to see my writing reach. With all of life's tugs I have come to the realization that my form of writer's block has nothing to do with having nothing to write about, but more about economics. My family must eat; they like to live in a modest home; they don't like walking to the grocery store.

I am not saying this in an attempt to garner pity form the few of you who read this blog. However, if anyone reading this feels compelled to finance me for say, six months, while I finish my novel I would not turn you away. Nope, I share all of this to give me hope and lead into what it is that has given me hope as a writer.

I recently came across a television show called , No Reservations. This show is based on the travels of a writer named Anthony Bordain who happened to be a chef, who happened to write a book while working as a chef. This guy travels the world writing about common places and local cuisine. What! You mean that it is possible to hold down a job and write? Genius.

I am reminded of the writers that inspired me to write. I think of Jack Kerouac working odd jobs and essentially couch surfing while writing On The Road. I think of Charles Bukowski spending years working for the Post Office before he was able to make any real money as a writer. There are countless other writers that made their living at something else while spending nights and weekends typing away.

I am inspired once again...

Still, I am not opposed to financial backing......

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