If writer's block is staring you in the face,
describe it's shape and texture - Unknown
Brick walls are there for a reason.
They show you how badly you want something
- Randy Pausch
You can't think yourself out of a writer's block;
you have to write yourself out of a thinking block - John Rogers
Ernest Hemingway likened writing to opening a vein which explains why both undersides of my arms have so many horizontal cuts along them that they've become the doors to my own personal jail cell.
They say writing from a blank page brings on an existential crisis. I beg to differ. It's the process of rewrites that has me crumpled up so bad that I feel like this art installation. My mind has switched gears into self-sabotage and I am reduced to a mere husk of myself just doing the motions of working, eating and sleeping. I am here yet not here. I exist only in the in-between states: overthinking my work. I can do this. C'mon, woman!
It's so peculiar to be able to express myself here in this newsletter with a breezy click of the keys, because the moment I revisit my final scene in the very last episode, I find myself pummeled by three distinctive states of being: Ennui, Self-Loathing and Ghosts From My Past. What the fuck is this?!
I simply didn't comprehend the sheer strength and determination I needed to knock down those bricks in order to rebuild a more sound foundation for my series. Now I worry that in the process of reconstruction, I ended up building a new wall all around me. I've been banging my head against it ever since and, as my fingertips trace the indentation, I have no choice but to wonder: "Oh, God! Is this permanent?" It certainly feels as though this is gonna leave a very definite mark. I'll probably have to go back to wearing bangs. Is this what writers go through on a daily basis? Crikeys, my hats off to you (although it's more of a protective helmet at this point)! This is the cruelest kind of joke: I am so, so close to the end. I can almost feel the fine frayed threads of the finish line bouncing and tickling on my nose.
The more scared we are of a work or calling,
the more sure we can be that we have to do it
- Steven Pressfield
I first read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield eight years ago just before arriving here in NYC. I packed my suitcase to study the Meisner technique at the Neighborhood Playhouse. I was terrified of this brave new step but compelled to make the audacious move because my heart was hurting so bad from an "unlived life" back in Oz that I finally became numb which is an even worse Hell. There was a repressed artist deep within me, aching to express herself and this book helped me to comprehend what I was going through as my light and dark forces battled. The publisher describes it as "how to identify, defeat and unlock the inner barriers to creativity" (Pressfield terms any form of these as our "Resistance") and a "kick in the pants guaranteed to galvanize every would-be artist, visionary or entrepeneur." It certainly was that for me back then and since my writing attempts revolve around recapturing that time; it was absolutely necessary to read this book again. From an actress hustling it in the big city to now, I recognize at a deeper, more fundamental level why I moved here and what stops me from fully evolving into writing my own series and wanting to produce it.
But I keep trying to muster my creativity to change the dance routine, all while calling forth the Muse. Last year, I wrestled with Paralysis yet Ennui is an even worthier and more stealthy opponent. It has cast spells of deep opium den sleepiness whether writing on my laptop at home or a pen and notepad on the subway. I recently had a two hour window in between an office temp job and a catering gig where I locked myself into a quiet room scribbling pages and pages of utter bullshit. It wore me out to such an extent that I timed 5-15 minute incremental naps and forced my ass back to the desk and forged ahead to write horribly, brokenly, ridiculously, self-loathingly. It's odd to picture myself basically projectile vomiting at the wall while limply standing, seduced to succumb to the waves of sleep like Dorothy in the poppy field. Why can't I write what's already written in my heart for this final scene? Why is it so hard to say what I want to say?
It helps to believe that there is magic in this world and that something within me can gather an unexpected and impressive arsenal to combat my Resistance. I see the proof everywhere. As I dragged my feet from our train station stop one night, I met a spiritual ninja right there on the corner of my street. His name is "Cosmos 360". Strong emanating fumes of musk wafted with every move as he began to show me the "stress free" toys he makes by hand and played his toy flutes to charm me like a snake. He said his mission is to spread love and joy. It worked. I nearly cried with delight while we talked past 12am. To express my deep gratitude, I bought him lamb over rice from a nearby parked Halal truck and then reluctantly got on my bike to head home. I have to hope that he is a sign for more help being on the way. I so want to complete this series by capturing what truly needs to be said.
Don't think. Just do this. C'mon, woman!
Love Dianne xxx