Unblock my brain
Say I’ll write once again
Undo this pain of not writing at all
And not having anything to say
Undo this hurt
I cried so many ni
Okay, let’s cut the dramatics. Toni Braxton sang it better anyway.
Every time I go through a bout of writers’ block, I am reminded of that Jerry Seinfeld book called ‘Is This Anything?’ It’s a comedian’s take on how their brains are always in motion and wired to find the funny in, well, almost anything. Sometimes the craft is formed through natural quick quips inspired by common everyday exchanges. Other times, it’s like trying to squeeze liquid from a scrunched-up piece of paper, begging the eternal question: Is this anything?
“What are you doing?” My semi-compulsively organized husband asked me with a sideways glance. I was wildly flinging loose pages and journals at the bottom of the stairs where I hoard all my childhood diaries and obsessive stationery collection. I had successfully emptied the entire contents of a drawer full of neatly tucked-away journals when he heard the commotion from his desk. It was a Tuesday night, and I was desperately panic-rifling through my old diaries to try to find a smidgen of something profound to reflect on or even a little something to refuel the embers of my dying fire. Is this anything?
I ended up leafing through some old journals and traveled further down memory lane than I intended to. What I found instead of inspiration was a bunch of self-serving, angsty scribbles about my entire world ending (embarrassingly because my middle-school crush might have mispronounced my name and laughed for five seconds too long when I accidentally tripped over a ball in gym class). An hour later, with nothing but dusty hands and a big mess at my heels, I peeled myself off the carpet and moped back upstairs relenting to writing a post about nothing. I never did tell my husband what I was doing, he just accepted that I was likely having another nutty Tuesday night as usual.
I even surveyed my sisters for funny childhood memories.
“Remember the time mom gave me an enema in the public setting of the family living room?” Is that anything?
Oh, or the time my little sister convinced me to crawl into the human-sized laundry sack only to drag me down a two-step platform and abandon said sack (sadly with me still in it) as soon as my mother came at us with a slipper. For the love of all that is holy IS THAT ANYTHING?
Reading his book got me thinking about how comedy is quite similar to writing. It takes guts to show up on stage just to spew your, hopefully, relatable (in fact, so relatable it’s hilarious) thoughts to a crowd of mostly unknowns just for the euphoria of a guttural laugh. Writers do that every time they publish their work or allow others to read it. Except without the laughing part, no one wants to be laughed at. Not even for five seconds.
All Mr. Seinfeld cared about at that age was doing what he loved, just enough to support him at the minimum. My takeaway from that is to do something you love because you wholeheartedly, without a shadow of a doubt love doing it- not for any other reason.
See you next Wednesday.
Liked this post? Check out other popular posts on my blog: