I’ve been going through a lengthy period of writer’s block. I guess a good year? That’s a long time. I blame it on some sort of mental stagnation due to a mid-life crisis of sorts. But as I think about it, the mid-life crisis just might be an extended reaction to getting older and that just continues.
I finally sat down the other day and just wrote and wrote. Steps that were tentative turned into a full run. Now, I need to be up for the marathon. Ran into some fiction I’d written some time ago and, much to my surprise, I liked it. It gave me confidence seeing how I can bring my voice that I see in my poems to the narrative world. My real issue is getting the insight into how to craft a good story end to end.
I think the real problem is, five years ago I was deliriously happy, as some of you may recall. Happier than I can recollect ever being before. I had a great job and I was home again, here in San Francisco. The person I worked for really believed in me and encouraged me to bring both sides of me into work…the writer and the engineer. A new world settled inside me and began to bloom.
But like most things, the job dissolved and I found another one. And it was kind of soul crushing. I traveled a lot though and that really lit a spark in me again. But the ebb and flow of tides…
Today I was standing in my backyard. It’s cool here in San Francisco, right on the cusp of the New Year. I felt the chill in me but the sun was at play in the branches of the redwood I love so much (and not many people get to have a redwood in their backyard in this city!). I give in too easily to some of the worries in the world and there’s a lot to worry about, current President aside. I was feeling despondent, depairing a bit. But here’s the interesting thing about age and getting older. It’s easier to talk yourself down from ledges. It’s easier to remember why self-love (in the right ways) is so important.
And then I was able to see the hummingbirds, the hawk that landed on my fence looking for mice. I was able to breathe in and out and to forgive myself for things. I’m hard on myself and with that comes confusion. And it doesn’t serve me well. And this is where my writer’s block came from. My inability to relax into the moment of writing and let it go. To love the moment. This isn’t to say I haven’t had beautiful and extended moments of happiness this year. I have, believe me. Some incredible revelations about myself and others. But the holidays are very hard for me. I get lonely.
That is what is changing in this new year, investing all in on self-love. Self-forgiveness. And my writing. All the other good stuff will follow. I have faith. In myself, in those I love and in those who are distant from me. That what is meant to rise back up and converge will do so in its own time and when it’s right.
I have a ton of work in front of me. It’s good. I plan on enjoying the ride.