Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Writing one hundred essays in one hundred days is like chemotherapy for writer's block-it forces it out in the most aggressive way possible. Sometimes it has painful side effects (self-doubt, blank-page syndrome, obsession). Sometimes, it doesn't work. I think that's called writer's block. While I was worrying about this creative dead-end and my goal of ninety-one more essays, it occurred to me that the only logical way to treat writer's block would be to write about it.

I suppose not knowing what to write for a little while is not necessarily a terrible thing. It makes you notice things you might not have otherwise. Over the course of today's stupor, I learned that my living room fan is very noisy, I need to file my nails, there are some great recipes for cookies online, my blue kameez needs to be fitted, there's a lizard behind the picture frame near the computer, Thomas Jefferson was a Deist and it is possible for me to hum distractedly and loudly enough to get glares from my neighbour at work. Normally, when there is a blank page in front of me, I am too busy writing to observe, think or look up these things. It's amazing how much you learn when there is nothing else to do.

Ironically, writer's block has also given me something new to write about. When you really stop to think about it, the frustration of not knowing where to begin or how to say something is as describable as anything else.

It feels like having your head wedged between two rocks. It feels like one of those nightmares where you have to take an exam and realise you haven't studied. It feels like spending the whole week looking forward to Sunday and then having to cancel all your plans when it finally arrives. It's like rain at the beach, like wet sand and a cold breeze that makes your teeth hurt. It's a sinus infection that leaves you unable to move your head because of its heaviness. It's a mosquito bite on your ankle when you're wearing skinny jeans. It's a ketchup stain on your favourite white T-shirt. It's sitting down to watch a movie and having the cable go off. It's like a math test you don't understand.

It's the feeling that everything you want to say has already been said. It's the tea-coloured hue of life that's no longer interesting. It's the toe-curling irritation of wanting to write about something so badly you just can't. It's having a tune stuck in your head and not being able to remember where it's from. It's that face on the news you don't recognize. It's having something to say to someone you love and not knowing how to start. It's finding out your brother ate the last bit of Jell-O in the fridge. It's the now-what? feeling before graduation. 

It's about 600 words of revelation. It's a kick-start to writing about more important things than the inability to write. It's the frustration that makes you want to do better next time. I suppose it's an essay in itself.

1 comment:

Amna Chaudhry said...

Interesting ^^