Finally back after Suffering from Plumber’s Block

I definitely suck at regular updates.

There. Now no one can say I didn’t warn them when I fall silent for a few weeks. Bit of Pokemon Go until the 3-step bug and then a bit of work-stress coupled with relief from a lot of work stress has left me kinda hardcore avoiding writing for a while. I’m working on getting back to it now (as you can plainly see), but I tend to wind up doing this a lot.

The first thing to go when I get stressed out or my depression starts acting up is my writing. The one thing I have that always grounds me, my most complete escape, my way to speaking out about what troubles me and I abandon it when I need it most.

Once, when I went to my first event at which Patrick Rothfuss was appearing/answering questions, someone asked him about writer’s block. Having been a writer for several years at that point, I’d already learned that writer’s block was pretty much only in your head. Patrick Rothfuss confirmed that, saying that it was sort of ridiculous that writers have this condition unique to them that explains why some of us can’t seem to get anything written. “Plumbers don’t have plumber’s block. They have to clean out your drains whether they feel like it or not.”

He went on, though. He explained that, just like a plumber with a broken arm or the flu wouldn’t be expected to fix your plumbing, a writer shouldn’t expect themselves to write if they’re not feeling well. And that’s not just physical illness. Its pretty easy to write when you’ve got the flu so long as you’re still cogent. No, he talked about mental illness and the impact it can have on a writer’s ability to work. That struck home for me and kind of woke me from the sort of blind Hero Worship view I had of him to seeing him as a normal person. As a Human.

It was kind of like when you look at your parents and realize that they’re only humans as well. They’re not superheroes and to expect perfection from them is to deny them their humanity. To expect perfection from myself is to deny myself my humanity.

I wrote a poem on day, when I was feeling a bit more cheerful and bit more blasé about the high expectations I have for myself. Like a lot of my poems, it started off with a bit of a random thought and ran from there.

 

If I were a god
I would be worshipped by frat boys and single mothers.
A god of beer drinking, simple living, and neat little recipes that your kids will love.

If I were a god,
I would be capricious and mighty but also incredibly lazy.
A god of harsh judgment and terrible wrath who just asks you to try to be better.

If I were a god,
I would stride the land cloaked in wind and thunder and rain.
A god of storms who brings nothing but rain on windows and thunder in the distance.

If I were a god,
I would grant my adherents visions of what might be.
I’d give my true believers the sight to see just what they could make of themselves.

If I were a god,
I would have the power to change the world to my liking.
I’d get so tired and angry with all the humans begging for help that I’d strike them down.

If I were a god,
I would encourage self-help and doing it yourself.
A god who helps those who help themselves and let the lazy stay in the dirt and dust.

If I were a god,
I would be most terrible and fearsome to behold.
I’d be the most beautiful entity in all of creation but far too bright to actually see.

If I were a god,
I would rid the world of evil and all that is wrong.
I’d strike down all of those who oppose me and bend the universe to my will.

If I were a god,
I would be an awful mess as you can clearly see.
I’d be breaking all my own rules and constantly at odds with myself.

If I were a god,
I wouldn’t be another human just trying to get by.
But that’s all I am so maybe I shouldn’t expect quite so much of me.

 

It is very much the sort of poem I’d come up with. Silly and kinda peaceful, but with a bit of something to think about at the end. Definitely not my best work, but I’m not convinced I’ll ever be able to point to something and say “that’s my best work” so that phrase doesn’t really mean much. But it feels good, you know? To give myself permission to be just a little bit more human than usual.

But that’s why I tend to stop writing. Writing is hard. I have to spend a lot of time in my head and that’s not always such a great place to be. Gaming and reading get me out of my head and into something else. It’s a different kind of escape for when I need to escape me instead of the world. But now I’m ready to deal with me again so here I am. Updating my blog and working a daily writing session into my schedule.

Cut yourself some slack today. Just, you know, let it go for a bit and pick it up later.

 

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