Category Archives: blocks (of the creative and writing variety)

Writer’s Block

The last couple of weeks brought writer’s block, and now I’m two weeks behind regaling myself, and those of you along for the ride, with tales of the musical events I’ve attended.

“I write about my experience going to concerts,” I was explaining to my personal trainer today (by the way, the best way to get yourself–or at least myself–to actually work out is to purchase an insanely, near-irresponsibly expensive, non-refundable package of personal training sessions), “and the experience part started taking over and getting too personal to put on my blog.”

That’s the thing about writer’s block, I’ve been told–it’s almost never that you don’t have something to say, it’s that what wants to come out isn’t what you’re looking for.  So I gave in and did some unpublished writing (i.e., journaling).  All the real juicy stuff, the emotionally authentic stuff, which I’d to share somewhere but not necessarily with high-school cellists thinking of coming to Depauw to study with me.

I also sat around feeling stuck and sorry for myself (anyone else good at that?). And did things like post videos here so the blog wouldn’t just disappear.

Yet I’ve had some fantastic times, too.  Honest to gosh, last week was a combination of peak experiences and periods of despondency that seemed to respond only to lots of sleep.  How do you spell mood swings?  E-R-I-C.

I was describing this to someone who explained, “Oh, you’re creative.  Isn’t that just how creative people are?”*

Well, maybe.  I’ve felt like Bradley Cooper’s character in Limitless, all disheveled and forlorn and stuck, before he starts taking the pills that turn him into a superman (man, did I want me some of those!). So I’m starting to imagine just how difficult it would be to write for a living.  Lucky for me, my on-sabbatical paycheck keeps coming regardless of when something gets posted here.  No deadlines, except self-imposed ones.

Part of it is that writing, like practicing the cello, is so damned isolating.  I don’t like being stuck in my “lonely room” (as Cole Porter put it in “Night and Day”). An Andrew Sullivan post this morning inspired me to go write in a coffee shop, and damned if it isn’t working.  (I see people typing at their laptops in Starbucks all the time, but it never dawned on me that it would be a better place to write than at home.)

It’s a cool afternoon, so I threw on a sport coat as I was heading out with my backpack.  “Going to the office?”asked one of my apartment mates.

Guess so.

OK, that’s off my chest (I hope).  Now back to musical experiences in NY.  With this two weeks stored up, I’m going to try writing about them in a random and probably  mashed-up order.  I can’t do separate reviews for each one.


*Back when we were married, Allison (who’s a magnificent violinist) complained (justly, I’m sure) to Thelma, our elderly, old-school neighbor, about some sort of asshole behavior I’d committed .

“Oh, he’s an artist,” Thelma told Allison, serenely excusing whatever I’d done.

“You’re an artist?  What about ME?” Allison exasperatedly berated me later.  After all, she’s as much, probably more, of an artist than I am.  (And has better rhythm. Right, sweetie?)


Filed under and everything, blocks (of the creative and writing variety), creative process