The Writer’s Block


One can only stare at a blank page waiting for words to come for so long before starting to wonder, “Is it writer’s block?” It almost sounds like saying, “Is it malignant?” as if it was a physical malady to which we may succumb. Poor John, he wasn’t getting enough inspiration and now he has writer’s block. Hopefully he can get better with treatment.

A year is a long time to write about something every day and I feel like I have run low on things to write about. I don’t know if I am experiencing writer’s block or not, but  I’m afraid to ask the internet. I might WebMD myself into some horrible, terminal, flesh-eating, literary disease.

The phrase is interesting. Block has so many potential meanings. I have seen pieces of wood inscribed “Writer’s Block” for sale in various stores. Not sure if they are meant to be a gag gift or a curse. The way some writers speak of it, it would be like giving someone a vial of anthrax.


Perhaps it is meant to be a city block? Westminster Cathedral in London has its famed Poets’ Corner where many English literary greats have been laid to rest. I’ve been to Authors Ridge in Concord, Massachusetts, which fittingly forms part of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. But what if there was a place where they all were together pre-mortem? Imagine an apartment building, or maybe a block of brownstone houses, where the predominant sound was keyboard and typewriters through open windows on a summer’s day. Would concerned mothers shoo their children to the other side of the street? “I don’t want you hanging around over there. You might be offered literature.” I would think there would be a coffee shop, pub, and office supply store across the street.

Or maybe it’s a cellblock. Is the warden concerned about having all those literary types in his prison? Maybe it’s for their own good. Who knows what would happen if we let them out with the general population. Prisoners might not be able to tattoo each other because they’d hoard all the ink. And there’s concern about poison pens as well.

What if we drop the “k”? Is it a collection of eastern European countries given to the production of manuscripts? Is the western entertainment complex concerned? We counter with radio, television, and our superior technology. Our intelligence tells us that even though they paraded word processors at their annual Shakespeare parade, most of them are still either using old IBM Selectrics or pen and ink. Nevertheless, we are very concerned that if new blogging technology falls into their hands, it might create a shift in east-west intellectual power.

Or perhaps, it’s a defensive move, like that used in martial arts or chess. Steve didn’t feel like discussing his new book ideas with his neighbor, so he played a writer’s block, effectively ending the conversation. Mary didn’t want to try to explain her career as a freelance writer to her inquisitive seat-mate on the coast to coast flight, so she played a strategic writer’s block, telling him she was a consultant instead.

Maybe it’s just another bit of fanciful fiction some writer created because he wanted a day off without feeling guilty. Ernest decided it was a nice day and he really wanted to go fishing, so he told his wife that he had writer’s block and he was going to try to find some inspiration down at the river. It seemed to work for him, anyway.



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