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A Twenty Year Case of Writer’s Block

I know I have a long way to go as a writer, but it’s nice to go back and appreciate how far I’ve come. This is an excerpt from The Vulning Pelican, an autobiographical novella and my first serious attempt at writing in July 2009. I’ll continue to post excerpts each week. Be sure to subscribe to this blog if you’d like a somewhat poorly written intimate account of how I ended up as a writer in Panama.

I sat at my desk stiff with trepidation. The computer screen glowed in annoying passivity. Four small green parakeets screeched and babbled in their dirty cages on the front porch as my brain struggled to reanimate. This was my first attempt at writing since I was a teenager.

Writing had been a compulsion for many of my younger years. I had stacks of notebooks full of words written to no one. I was not one to call up a girlfriend to spill out my guts or go to a shrink for a bottle of pills. Writing was my therapy. It was like taking out the cerebral garbage, and the longer I went without it the more neurotic I became.

Once, I was a laid-back open-minded idealist. I was a visionary, a dreamer, but with each year I that descended into womanhood a nagging bitterness unfurled inside me.

Like most of my fellow so-called generation-Xers, I was lost in a world disenchanted. I put up a noble fight against big bad Conformity. I did my fair share of reckless behavior- too much drinking and drugs, going out with “bad boys” and not much of anything else. Eventually and inevitably I was forced to grow up and surrendered to the mediocre job, the car payment, and the weekly struggle to make it to Friday.

I felt I had lost the battle. I had sold-out for the safety and security of the working class American life instead of risking it all to do something I loved. My self-disgust was manifested in an unconscious punishment. I cornered my soul and starved my passions.

Now having a bit of a mid-thirties crisis, I said to myself, “What am I doing? What the hell am I doing?”

I noticed I was more uptight, more moody, more irritable, and more fearful of people. I became dispassionate about everything and instead tranquilized myself by swallowing copious amounts of red wine and obsessing over household cleanliness. I released my energies by perfecting yoga asanas and running like a caged hamster on my elliptical machine.

It was not that I did not enjoy life. In fact, the beauty of the world could bring me instantly to tears whenever it chose to penetrate my addled heart, but these glimpses were only enough to drive me mad. I knew it was all right there in front of me, the Secret of Life. Sometimes I could almost piece it together, but it eluded me like a song on the tip of my tongue.

I had found love of my life and was living happily ever after in paradise. I was no longer a slave to a paycheck. Why was I so discontent?

The only thing that kept me grounded was my immense love for those few people close to me. I knew how to appreciate and adore my family. But it had been my writing, my therapists Dr. Paper and Mr. Pen that were the only way I could make sense of myself. I had to go back. The cerebral garbage had been piling up, putrefying, and emitting noxious odors. To put it plainly, my psyche was fast becoming a bona fide shitstorm.

to be continued

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*Cringes* Some of it is not too bad, and some of it is laugh out loud horrible. Dr. Paper and Mr. Pen. Yes, I actually wrote that. Hey, don’t judge. It was over 6 years ago.