Your first thought: maybe today, maybe today will be the end. But as you fumble around under the comforter on your bed, fingers searching for the familiar ice-metal of your phone, you know. You just know.
The writer’s block is still here.
Of course, there are “exercises” you can do to help, so say your professors and the internet. But it really seems like only time can kill the block. Time and distractions.
Your fingers finally find the phone, somehow wrapped in the sheet near your left calf. (How, even?) Check Gmail, Facebook, Instagram. Swipe out notifications about updated applications you hardly ever use like Amazon and Flipboard. All the while you’re thinking about it. The project, your baby.
It’s the poem sequence about your nana. There are so many things you want to say, memories you want to include, but where to even begin? How to even begin? A shower might help.
You remember all the times you visited her house after school to do homework. But you never did the homework. Nana would coax you into the kitchen with the smell of Betty Crocker brownie mix and the promise of using her measuring cups. Olive green plastic. But how to put those details into a poem about her death?
You hold the new bottle of Mane N’ Tail shampoo in your hand. You’ve heard it helps hair grow longer and stronger, but it comes out of the bottle in congealed spurts. Is this what the reviews meant by “creamy?” (It does kind of smell like apples, though, as one reviewer swore.)
But now, what was that memory you were just thinking of? Nana…Nana and a smell you can’t quite place. If only you hadn’t been in the shower, you could have written it down. But maybe the shower is what sparked the memory. When you have writer’s block you can’t hold on to thoughts, like trying to capture water with open hands. Toweling off reveals your fingers have pruned, like hers used to in the pool. But she hated swimming. Is there something there you could incorporate?
And you have no motivation to even try. It’s all been so discouraging whenever you’ve attempted to type or even hand write the past week. You know what might help? Some breakfast. Specifically, some ice cream for breakfast since it’s Saturday and you don’t work. And Netflix.
You choose “Parks and Recreation,” but quickly realize you’re basically like Ron whenever you sit down to write down memories of Nana.
So you turn off Netflix. “Modern Family” is always relaxing. You stream an episode from season 4 called “Career Day,” where it turns out Jay has writer’s block while trying to convince his wife Gloria that he can be a writer:
“Chuck Stone…sat at the interrogation table. His mind was a blank. A complete blank. He literally could not think of one single solitary thing.
Then he noticed the spot. It looked like syrup left over from breakfast, which made him realize it was lunch time.
Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, or BLT as Chuck Stone called it, would really hit the spot.
The secret, Chuck realized, was real mayonnaise, not that healthy crap his wife kept buying for their son. I mean, what’s the point of tttt t for t t for two…”
You realize, again, you’re just like the character. You also realize, you should be writing, or at least trying to, like Jay.
Because Jay, the old crotchety character on the show, is making more of an effort to write than you, the youth going to school specifically for writing.
There’s no fighting it anymore.
You give in, pull on your comfiest sweatpants with the Cheetos finger stains on the thighs and snuggle up on the couch with a bag of chocolate, a notebook, and a handful of pens, just in case one happens to die. Your laptop stays in your backpack across the room with your phone, because the internet is too tempting to resist when suffering from a case of writer’s block.
But sitting alone away from technology, with the Lindt bag of truffles, you’re reminded of the chocolate fudge Nana would add to the brownie mix. The way the oil would cling to the sides of the green measuring cup, refusing to mix with the water from the tap. How she used to whisper-count each stir of the spoon, the bowl cradled in the crook of her elbow, up to one hundred before your turn.
The bag of chocolates is empty, and your pen is dead. But you can almost smell her now, over the wall.
Meet the blogger:
Mariela Lemus studies creative writing at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota as a transfer senior undergraduate student. She will graduate in December 2015 and hopes to pursue a career in editing and publishing.