Listen to Jim’s podcast: http://redclaydiary.com/
or read his story below:
WRITER’S BLOCK SNOW GLOBE
Writers, authors, tellers of stories, poets, purveyors of enhanced realities, composers of realistic mythologies…we all have one thing in common. The prospect of coming down with something called Writer’s Block.
Some of us could use a dose of Writer’s Block. These folks suffer from Multisyllabic Reflux, the inability to hush up and pay attention to the silences and pauses between thoughts. They just can’t stop themselves from unedited wordflow.
Others freeze up when it comes time to utter or compose or write or in some way begin a story. They await a miracle or an inspiration or a Voice.
In my own case, I do not have Writer’s Block. My stories never seem to end, always appear to be waiting to pounce onto the keyboard or sheet of paper. Because of this, I have to be careful which tales are ready to be shared, which need to age first, which would be interesting to anybody outside of Me. And that, I do not always know.
So I suppose that editing and vetting become most useful skills. The story is there, now I just have to shape and guide it into the appropriate format.
I’m at the checkout counter in a Dollar General Store in a nearby rural county. I ask, “Could you direct me to the Kleenex?” The nicely-dressed elderly clerk replies, “Peanuts in the can?”
“Uh, no…” I begin.
“Oh, you want them in the bags?”
“Er, I don’t think they come in bags.” Now I realize she may have a hearing problem. How to communicate?
“Kleenex, you know, like, tissue (I point to my nose).
“Oh, yeah,” she realizes what I want. “Well, I don’t know…” She looks over at the tall booth where an employee is bent down to her paperwork, oblivious of all store activity but listening intently to any words floating in the air.
“Dorothy, do you know?” Dorothy just shrugs and continues looking down at whatever she’s doing in the manager’s high castle.
I smile and motion to the clerk not to worry, then wander off to find some aisle that looks like Kleenexville. I eventually stumble upon facial tissues and fail to find them in either bag or can.
I take my box to the lady at the counter and find that she knows how to make change backwards and aloud, the way they used to make change way back when. I bask in this experience because it reminds me that my mother also knew how to make change from her clerking days at F.W. Woolworth and R.L. McGee General Merchandise.
I tote my flimsy white plastic bag to the exit door, wishing the clerk a happy day and a good life. She doesn’t catch the last part, but I carry her smile with me.
And that’s my little story. There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?
By now you may be grumbling, “Well, he may not have Writer’s Block, but I do, and this anecdote doesn’t help me at all.”
May I say this about that?
All I did in telling my story was shake the Writer’s Block Snow Globe a bit. Whenever things settle down and verge on stagnation, I pick up the globe, shake it, watch how its contents flutter and swirl and settle down into entirely new configurations. Then, like reading tea leaves, I gaze intensely and imagine what’s under those flakes, what secrets are awaiting revelation, what joys and horrors are ready to spring.
And out comes a story. I don’t have to make anything up. Life is brimful of so many lost moments that I can merely reach my hand into the miasma and come up with a gem not of my own making. As a writer, all I have to do is pass this gem on to anybody who cares to read these words.
Too simple, too easy, you say.
Well, it only took me several decades to discover this secret, so it may take you a while, too. Once you establish the rhythm of the snow globe routine, you might have an aha! moment. Or not. But in your search for the right ritual you could stumble upon your own method.
At least I caused you to consider it
© 2016 A.D. by Jim Reed