50 Days of 50: Writer’s Block? Day 29

5/8/2012 Day 29Mafia Hairdresser
A few days I was giving a talk to a group of writers and one young aspiring scribe asked me if I ever had writers’ block. I said no. And then I told her that I did not know that it was possible for me to sit down at a computer and not have anything to say. I cannot remember a time when I had nary a thought in my head of which I also always feel a compulsion to share.
I might have mentioned that I blog for a Chicago online restaurant, events and things-to-do magazine called thelocaltourist.com. I began to write for Emmy winner, Theresa Carter, the owner of the magazine for the opportunity to expand the readership of my novels, Mafia Hairdresser and The Glow Stick Gods. But I got so much more out of it. Writing a blog for and about restaurants, businesses, events, charities, music, books and, sometimes, a few personal opinions, taught me so much. I learned how to write more concise, quickly and more purposefully. And since I only wrote about restaurants, businesses, and so many more deserving people-inspired happenings, I came to realize that it was my duty to shine a light on them and I continue to love to do so.
But it is with this 50 Days of 50 blog that I have run into a bit of a wall. It’s not that I don’t have more to say on the subject, it is the fact that I’m not sure where this is heading. As I stated before, I knew this project was going to take a toll on my already jam-packed writing schedule and hairdressing. And I have not deviated from my social calendar. I attempted to give up drinking to help me keep my energy up but I failed again. Not miserably: Just two drinks at an event last night, and a few glasses of wine–beer last weekend. All of this added up to me skipping my blog yesterday and the martinis helped me forget about that, if only for the evening.
This is my writers’ process: When I know that I am going to be writing a novel I know that the days and weeks before I actually begin to make my notes or start to mind-dump onto a written page or type on a computer, I will spend endless days and hours doing anything but think about the novel. I know it’s in me, and the novel always has to come out. But I will do my taxes, clean the apartment, clean out my closets, over-manage my upcoming schedule, and party more and work-out more and watch way too much TV before I let the novel take over my life. I liken it to a traditional Apache Dance. An Apache Dance starts out slow and then speeds up and then, wham, the lead dancer slams the other dancer with challenge and passion and there is no turning back–the dance must explode to a fervent hot-blooded ending. If done right the audience is almost as exhausted as the dancers themselves.
It’s a burdensome feeling before I write because there is guilt that I am not writing and, once I begin, I know that I will have to continue till the climactic end–of the dance. When it ends it will be bitter-sweet and the words and feelings that I put onto the page will be birthed and matured to go out into the world to be read and judged. Hopefully someone will be moved, if even a fraction that I was when I wrote the novel.
I didn’t have time to think that 50 Days of 50 was going to be anything but a humorous outburst of ego and emotion. But it has become so much more to me. It has become a mirror in which I see that I do have some real angst or anger. Anger for getting old? Perhaps. Well, yes. But maybe I have a little more regret in me than I originally thought? I am certainly surprised at my own nerve about some of the things I have written.
All this week I began to slip into this mode of painting walls, rearranging my storage locker, packing and unpacking boxes, cleaning and buying things, all in preparation of getting my new office, with the new hardwood floors, ready to work in. But I think what I was really doing was slowing myself down. And then I had to take a day off of this blog.
You see, I didn’t have time to think about what this blog would do to me (nor anyone else) and I treated it differently than my novels–I just jumped in. There was no subconscious stewing while I pretended to avoid what I knew I had to go through to make every word count.
So, at this time, I’ve come to the conclusion that this blog is just as important to me as my novels and I care about it as much as my professional blog for The Local Tourist. 50 Days of 50 has been mini novels to some readers, only I’ve received instantaneous reaction to it as my “pro” blog. I wasn’t ready for that and it became a little bit un-nerving. For the past week I vacillated between editing myself and writing directly to my many responders–neither would be acceptable; I’m sure you’ll agree.
So: on I write, with uncertainty and a little bit of fear. Like every project, novel or blog, it’s a process and then it comes to an end and I will feel a loss, but this project is much more personal than anything I’ve ever done and I have come to realize that I cannot control the “character arc” or tone. Bless you for putting up with this old guy–we are on this journey together. I continue to be un-blocked.

MafiaHairdresser.com or TheLocalTourist.com for more

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