Thursday, September 17, 2009


Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink.
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

Y’know, I’m living a dream. It’s neither very lucrative nor filled with fanfare, but it’s a dream nevertheless. I’m writing what I want, when I want and how I want, without the like-an-asshole-everyone’s-got-one-and-it-stinks opinion of creativity-killing bureaucrats who dare to think they know better than I or, for that matter, think at all. At least in this little corner of the Internet, I am The Maztor of my domain, without the dictatorial oppression of others. I am the living embodiment of the First Amendment and all the glorious freedom it bestows.


Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.

See, by writing this blog, I took the one step that so many other working writers out there dream, sometimes their whole lives, and never attain. As I mentioned in my original post, I am assuming a stance of carte blanche concerning the subject matter of my posts. When I made this decision, I considered it a watershed. I could write whatever I wanted, so long as it wasn’t too crappy. My only inescapable fear in this commitment was of the trite yet dreaded writers’ block.

That was about the time I was blindsided by something I would not have expected in a million, billion years.

After my first two posts, I began to feel the creative engine in me really start to growl, and by that I’m taking a 351 Cleveland large-bore piece of power-ridden American engineering, not some rice-burning four-banger. The ideas really began to flow, and I was bound and ready to gun that engine and hit that literary road running.

Then, the engine seized up.

The problem wasn’t writers block. After all, I had so many ideas. Quite the opposite. I had too many. Day after day something would pop in my head and I’d scream in a loud, clear voice, “That’s it!” (A somewhat embarrasing prospect, especially while at my day job and in a patient’s room.) Then, I’d scrap my previous idea—whatever it was—and push forward with the new one.

But soon the ideas were coming so hard, so fast, the synapses in my brain were firing with such verocity that, like some really bad Robin Williams biopic, I suddenly and without warning stopped. Which idea should I write about? The question pounded through my skull over and over again. I just couldn’t decide. And when you add to the mix the usual stark mania perpetrated by the beginning of school and other difficulties I won’t mention here, you end up with one really inconsequential goober, like the kind I’d become. And then, before I knew it, almost two months passed since my last post and I had nothing, NOTHING to show for it.

I began to identify with and gain a greater appreciation for the protagonist of a story I’d been playing with on-and-off for awhile now. Through giftedness and training, he is imbued with great power, only to have his teacher suddenly and tragically killed before the protagonist learns to harness it. In fact, any magickal expression beyond the rudimentaries causes it to run amuck. So, in the face of great adversity, the story revolves around his baby steps in learning for himself the presence of mind needed to tap his gift without his head blowing up. In desparation, I did the same and looked for a method by which I could break my stalemate and push forward.

To my surprise, it came quickly enough in the form of a brief, simple whisper of a memory barely heard in the din of my brainwaves.

Perhaps by luck, and certainly by privilage I once for a time had the opportunity to call iconic outdoor writer Steve Comus “boss.” On a particularly frustating day of limited creativity, the crusty old newsman gave me a little advice, in his usual laid back, almost mumbling diction. “Think straight, write straight,” he said.

And so here I am. It’s 5:00 a.m., and I’m trying to reinstitute a long-atrophied practice by just thinking straight and writing straight. No predispositions. No pretensions. No grand designs to muck up the mix. Just one word in front of the other, like my feet on a long forced march, keeping them moving because the only end is at the end, and what happens in the mean time is the essence and pain of creativity. My only companions are the house cat and, in the words of Simon and Garfunkle, the sweet sound of silence. My only distraction is the slight twinge in my back, the remnant of a three-week-old muscle pull I exacerbated last weekend. A warm cup of coffee sets at my side, and above me the ceiling fan twirls.

I don’t intend on giving up on my ideas. On the contrary, I’ll likely make a list and explore them, one at a time at my discretion, thinking and writing as straight as I can until those journeys end as well.

Except maybe that gay midget porn concept.