I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump lately. It started a few months ago with my trip to Connecticut and a gorgeous late winter snowfall.
I spent hours sledding with Kristin and Will and their two adorable toddlers Dee-dee and Buddy.
I’d like to say I had a gigantic disastrous accident that I landed in a ditch, wrenched my knee and tore my ACL or something like that, because then you’d feel sorry for me. But none of this happened.
No, I had a great time sledding, all the while ignoring a creeping pain in my knee, which wasn’t a great knee to begin with.
By the time I got back to Texas, my knee was pretty messed up. I tried to rest my knee, but then SXSW started and there were bands I wanted to see, and I was tired of maintaining my horizontal position andwhy should I have to miss out on anything anyway?
I’m not good at being still. Ever.
Plus, SXSW = Free music = Fun = Ignoring my knee.
Only my knee was not on board with this plan. Two days into SXSW, my knee quit in protest. I was forced into bed.
At first, I thought that there was something appealingly southern gothic about retiring to my bed to write. I would have nothing to do besides write. My family to supplied me with a constant stream of ice packs and charming beverages. I settled in, expecting new ideas to flow like water.
I read books and watched movies, I caught up on E-mails, I took an online course on self-promotion. I sent texts to friends complaining about my procrastination problem and asking for advice. I tried all the techniques to get the flow of ideas started. Nothing worked.
At night I dreamed restless dreams of running after trains, traveling on treacherous mountain roads in overfilled buses. Boats on troubled waters. I dreamed of moving through the world at a breakneck pace even as I remained still. And still, no new words came.
My husband left town for the weekend. Three hours later Wolf the cat informed me that there was no wet food in the house. Wolf found my argument that I was in too much pain to grocery shop underwhelming.
So I got my cane andI headed to the grocery store. As I limped behind the shopping cart, ideas formed. I pushed ideas aside, struggling to remember the few things I needed. It didn’t work. I forgot milk for my coffee. I barely got out of there with cat food.
Ideas rolled at a shopping cart pace, limped sideways through my head, unbidden. All it took to break my writer's block was motion.
I don’t write sitting at a computer, I write while I move. I walk the neighborhood, I pace my house and the words come. This should have been painfully obvious to me since I have long academic history of blanking out the moment an essay test hit the desk in front of me. But for some reason, I thought my brain would grow up and behave differently.
No. I can’t think sitting still. My brain is a self-winding watch on a short spring. I get fifteen good minutes before I have to move my arms and legs to power it back up.
But I have a cane. My neighborhood is beautiful and lush. The weather is perfect. Today I walk. Today, I write.