If I lived any farther north winter would be unbearable. It’s hard to imagine that a person living in the American Southwest could be hit with SAD (seasonal affective disorder), but it happens to me with predictable regularity. My recourse has been to fill my life with as much variety of activity that I am distracted from the banality of my existence. The thing is, I lose interest in those distractions by the middle of December, and things begin to spiral like filth going down a drain.
In those times, caffeine tends to help, momentarily; however, I do maintain just enough of a spark for creating the occasional blog post. Ugh. This thing’s been staring me in the face like a god begging to be let outside to do his business. Yes, yes, I’ll get to you in a moment, I think. And I sit and stare back, expecting WordPress will simply relieve itself on the rug.
Writers have moments like these. I don’t call myself a “writer” often. I mean, yes, I can write, and I know how to form sentences and string thought together coherently, but I don’t know how to compel people to actually read my emesis-on-page. There’s no end to the inspiration – everything I see is worthy to be written about, even mishaps in the garden or finally learning that I’ve been singing the wrong lyrics to a song. It’s not that I have nothing going on in my life. My wife and I are taking dance lessons, and I love it. I’m super busy at work, finally getting to do some really cool stuff. I’m getting ready for a public speaking competition. And we’re gearing up for camping and hiking in the spring. There’s a lot to look forward to.
And yet, I don’t seem to be able to write shit about it. Whatever is wrong with me, they don’t seem to have a name for. Or maybe my perusal of the internet took me in the wrong direction. Or it could be that writers who can’t seem to sit down and write are off the radar just now. When we get on a roll, do we really want to sit here and tell everyone what a shit time we’re having?
So, where do I go from here? I want to be a prolific writer, but I’m not sure that exists. Sure, newspaper columnists appeared to be rock steady, but maybe Steve Blow just hammered together a few pieces all in one day just in case. Perhaps I should consider doing this, because when I get in that zone, I just go and go. It may not be perfect. It may not even be any good, but I’m producing. So, yeah, there’s a strategy. I guess I needed to “hear” my thoughts to make sense of them. Then again, that’s sort of the fuel for the fire.
Some people talk about free writing. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a kind of therapeutic exercise where you put a pencil to a piece of paper and write and write without interruption, never lifting the pencil. And if you have nothing to write, you write that, “I have nothing to write so I’m going to continue to scribble my inane thoughts here on this page. Hey, how is paper made? How does the lead get inside the pencil? Why do they call it ‘lead’?” And so on. Kind of like what I’m doing here. I could be outside where it’s sunny and 24 degrees Celsius. But why would I do that? That’s actually sarcasm, in case you didn’t pick that up – ooh, that sounded condescending.
Crap! I have completely wasted a beautiful January day. Not all is lost. I’m planning to grill some bratwurst in a bit, and I did spend quite a long time outside yesterday. See? This time of year warps my brain or something. Aaaanyway, mission accomplished, I suppose, with that fly-a-banner-even-though-it’s-way-early kind of triumphant exuberance. We’ll see if I can keep it up, now that winter is over, at least here. Yeah, you’re thinking, it’s going to get cold again, just wait. I know. But it’s not the same. Winter’s over down here in the South. It might snow in February, maybe even March, but the days are longer, and the grass is green.
Screw you, winter.