Discover more from Love Letter Day X
I’ve hit a creative wall, a writer’s block, the sleepy phase, the absence of my muse, a deep cynicism about amusement, “forty year old shoulder.” I need a haircut and to get my roots redone and retail therapy includes the good groceries yes it does. I think I understand why pain and grief matter. I worked very hard to find peace during that period, emotional latitude was wider, taller. That was highly motivated work. Today? I am doing a lot of math now. A coping mechanism of little effort. The mental equivalent of staring at a brick wall admiring the mason’s freehand symmetries.
Six weeks ago I went running for the first time in years. I started so strong so strong strong so strong and pushed myself to run a little faster. Twelve minutes later I was lapping myself at the plaza where all those gun-toting Columbus apologists were protesting the decommission of their hero monument four years ago. I was staring at the too dark shade of green paint. Everyone was talking about the green without noting how the white and the red in the Italian flag motif over the statue’s plywood coffin were also wrong. I could hear mosquitoes breathing, and the infrared stare from a man on the bench wearing calf-length baggy jeans held up by a black belt, white socks black reeboks. I guess you could say I was looking at him, too. I ran too hard and was walking to the perceived rhythm of pavement and the mosquitoes had a baritone sound, believe it or not, and believe it because I almost threw up. My head was pounding. I didn’t like the feeling after I’d just vanquished a mile and a half on my first run in so long. But I knew that meant I was probably doing something good for myself.
I’m not fond of using the word detoxification. I can register it just fine, but hesitate from using the word myself. This feels more like a recapitulation of consuming—eating, drinking, buying myself nice things—to staunch the atomic expression of my self as an obsessive, when I would always rather be the obsessed.
I have this false dichotomy in my writing habits that is surely worth deconstructing but for now is still a mere obstacle and not also an opportunity—the more reading I do, the less I want to write. I’ve read four books this month. This is never the case with music. Listening to it and learning about other musicians does not stall me from playing it. I relish in the mimicry of heard culture. However when I read books, especially books meant to teach me something, I find it near impossible to then write my personal works with any originality or even in a way that I don’t find incredibly boring or derisive. I am not discouraged by “superior” writing, no. Not that. I liken this to that thing we tell ourselves at work: if I spend the day working in something as analytical as say, a Profits and Losses spreadsheet, it becomes challenging to switch gears into something as interpretive as writing a poem. Perhaps instead of telling myself I am in a creative block, I can tell myself this is an analytical pause—the feeling of needing to throw up after running too hard, when I pay attention to everything and for the moment have to believe that becoming unremarkable, and even ugly, is a stage of the transition. Rather than looking fondly back at when I was motivated to bear beauty to such a magnitude the universe could explode at my touch, I may be even more tremulous than the repulsion of sadness. I may sleep in, sit quietly, touch my aching shoulder, forget the sound of your voice, let my body grow in every direction instead of jettisoning pieces of myself at you.