Turn to your co-workers, kids, Facebook friends, family — anyone who’s accessible — and ask them to suggest an article, an adjective, and a noun. There’s your post title! Now write.
It is 4am. I am awake and in front of my electronic writing pad. A weariness comes alive at this silent hour and I feel denuded. Perhaps this is what a writer’s block is like, I purse my lips and push my mind harder. It does not budge. I toss between whether to write or to go back to my comfortable bed. With great reluctance, I choose to stay up even if all I encounter is my inability to think clearly among other things. I decide to investigate myself at this irritating occasion.
I begin. A few words stumble and I drag myself on an uphill trek, prepared with the tools yet inept due to my inexperience of dealing with such fuzzy barriers. Words circle around with hanging question marks – struggling to find their place on the barren canvas of the WORD document. I stare hard at all the possibilities of a virgin space before me. It is stark, it is open and it is willing to accept. The cursor waiting with fervor. Unlike me. I am stuck; I am circling with nowhere to go and I am hoping to find something, anything. I wish I can do something with you – I say out loud to the blurry musings. A small bug crawls on the floor in response. I look around for inspiration. The wooden cabinets, the table, the shades, the eloquent wooden floors sink still. Their presence is as empty as my mind which resembles a basement with bare walls and exposed ceiling with no window to peep from.
This does not make sense – my combatant self agonizes. I am an engineer by profession – I join the wires and bring life to circuits; I spark innovation everyday but where is my current when I need it, when I am seeking it? Is it because I am accustomed to expect deterministic response from my digital creations? And writing happens to be an organic, whimsical, abstract effort that my logical self cannot figure out at all times? I push my chair away, turn the laptop off, open the patio door and walk out – carrying my phone to record what I see and hear or what I don’t. Sometimes the old ways are the best. Sometimes, observation is needed where action fails to accomplish.
To say it is quiet outside, would be an understatement. It is something more, deeper and stronger.
An unsettling stillness.
A chill persists holding down the dawn behind a long and fluffy train of indigo clouds. The world seems passing away, turning and accumulating souls and releasing them. The moon-faced universe appears suspended from a slow thread of time, clearing out its way – one atom at a time. In this morning of early summer, I feel tied to the revolving darkness, the unending oblivion and the leisure of being confounded – lost within the meanderings of inner and outer orbits.
Silence stains the fabric of space and time as long as eternity. I gape at the far-flung skyline. Suddenly, a sharp sliver of lavender light penetrates the horizon digesting its aphotic presence and everything changes. The supine globe stirs. The hard chunks of darkness soften. Slowly, a few birds flutter and poke the authoritative silence with squeaks and chirps. My backyard is instantly filled with a dull blue air, filling my head with dim words and traces of thoughts. It is time to go inside.
The indoors are luminous. The furniture is no longer pieces of wood arranged together but a collection of memories resting within. The shades are collecting dust but are a vital piece of shelter and comfort. The cabinets hold the ingredients of my lifelong recipes and continue to be my extended hands. I look at the floors – carrying our weight all these years – polished as new – ready to serve forever. It is true how our minds can be inhibiting like the powerful night and how liberating as the breaking dawn against all odds.
A writer’s block is as essential as writing; it is like this stubborn, unyielding night that eventually gives up. It forces you to pause, reflect, reassess and clean the scum of comfort and ego. It lets you rest so that you can discover and start fresh. I see the words walking towards me. I listen to a rising, slow crank of my cerebral machine. For the first time in the past hour and a half, I realize that I am not blank, I never was; but I was trying too hard. Writing is not about writing the best piece every time, it is simply about writing anything, even if it’s about a dead-end.
I look at the clock; the impasse at 4am has passed. The words are no longer intangible. The clean slate of WORD is ready. I punch my first sentence.