Square One Writer’s Block

The Writer by Mendelsohn Joe, 1982

The Writer by Mendelsohn Joe, 1982

Okay, I need a new direction. Writing the blog post on Cockroaches took three days and was absorbing. I had to go back through it on my iPad reminding myself of names and sorting out the red herrings from the real resolution. I neglected to say in my review that the plot was not memorable.

The difficulty arrives from the fact that I’m more or less stuck here in a mountain village in Kern County, California far from Toronto, as a result of a family illness. There are days when I am superfluous to need, but then again, a relapse occurs and I’m fully involved. I don’t even have time to think. Other days like this one, I am at loose ends despite bear incursions.

Because I’m a big reader of mysteries, several people have suggested that I write a mystery. I thought about it.

Okay… I’d need a crime, a locale and a detective. I could set it here in this mountain village. Wait Mar Preston has already done in Payback, although I didn’t recognize the happy, friendly village I know in the misanthropic town she depicted. Besides hers had a town hall, whereas the real place has only one centre of administration, the club house. This village is unincorporated. In other words even its roads are private property and privately maintained. The streets are patrolled by security guards, although the sheriff rides in for serious matters. So I suppose I could write a truer picture of our remote mountain valley.

Then I’d need a crime. Darn. Something bad would have to happen. Something seriously bad. What stops me there is my own personal experience. My father had a way of being on the edge of seriously bad stuff. After his death, three different police forces spent $1,000,000 trying to figure out exactly what. I can only say it was not worth every penny. Even if he did look exactly like the police drawing. (See home page for ebook.)

Most of all, I don’t have a scientific background except for Biology 101 which taught me how to dissect a pig embryo. I suppose I could make it all up from my extensive reading and my watching of CSI, but I am loath to do so. It’s possible that television writers take liberties with fact. And I have no experience of group work in policing.

I could write about group life in a high school prep room. Pretty cut-throat especially before smoking was outlawed.

Actually I could depict two older women, who have no investigative qualifications except curiosity. And mystery reading. One of them, the elder, would be irrepressibly garrulous, a little deaf and charmingly dotty who could worm information out of a stone wall. The other an ex-English teacher, more reticent, but with a mind like a steel trap. I suppose Clara would want a slice of the royalties. Anyway, that sounds too fey and Agatha Christie has already captured the market.

I’m reminded of the conversation between the writer and the doctor at a party. Doctor: When I retire, I’m going to write a novel. Writer: And when I retire, I’m going to take up medicine.

So, no, I think not.

I could find another indecipherable novel like The Luminaries, study it carefully and blog about it. The Luminaries post draws about 150 hits a week, once 164 in one day. Any suggestions?

I have embarked on the project of following The Outlanders by Diana Gabaldon on Starz and reading the books, but those stories are pretty decipherable. They are historical romances, no matter what the author says.

I could start writing a memoir about this illness, but the patient will write her own as and when.

For the time being, I sit here on another sunny warm day on the edge of the pine wood, writing a blog about my inability to get a good idea. I swear I’ve marked a hundred “personal” essays from students just like this.





4 thoughts on “Square One Writer’s Block

  1. I wish I could help you out but since grade 12 graduation, when the Streetsville Rotary Club saw fit to endow their prestigious Creative Writing Award upon me, I’ve not been able to conjure up a single original idea. That celebrated accolade seemed to mark the pinnacle of my creative career, having been hopelessly and unceasingly shackled to my very own writer’s block ever since. In fact, my block is so firmly entrenched that it has multiplied, stacked five high and bonded one to another with mortar. I am so convinced of my blocks’ staying power that when I shuffle off this mortal coil I am certain that my block will remain, a towering monument before which tongue-tied creative-types far and wide will prostrate themselves, languishing in the shadow of my behemoth inability. And to illustrate the unrelenting and impenetrable nature of my block, a public confession is in order – it has taken four agonizing days, countless trips to the thesaurus and untold time spent gazing into space before I was able to pry my fossilized writing hand from the steely grip of my block and post this comment. Alas, I am unable to assist in your efforts to free yourself from your own insidious jailor. But I do wish you good luck and urge you have no sympathy for the blaggard; do not coddle or cosset the fiend with doubt but rather pulverize the daylights out of the scoundrel – with jabberwocky if necessary – until you can use its guts for garters and are fee to pen the opus that awaits!

  2. Okay! What writer’s block?/???! You seem to be capable of response anyway. So I’ve started researching ecological problems here and my mystery will have 3 murders, apparently, illnesses or accidents. I’m using the sleuths I spoke of, but need another helper. Actually having fun, at last.

  3. Pingback: Writer Unblocked | 115 journals

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