A while back I wrote a short story for the Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize. It was a short piece about a writer and her new room - a place that was meant to inspire creativity, but instead it was too pure and too quiet and she couldn't write.
At the time I wrote the story (January) my new room did not yet exist, except as a wooden skeleton with a tarpaulin skin. Yet in some respects, the story has come true, for I find myself in my beautiful new room, surrounded by all the accoutrements of the determined writer - computer, reading chair, bookshelves full of inspiration - yet I am unable to write (present blog excepted).
Sometimes I wonder if I can do this.
Yet this room, lovely as it is, does feel still and quiet. I am used to writing in the kids' playroom, my feet on the box of Thomas trains, my chair on a Little Mermaid rug. Maybe I need more stuff on the walls. There is altogether too much beige in this room, and I am not a very beige person. Maybe I need to stop making excuses.
In class, we regularly have writing exercises. Some of my fellow students dread them, being forced to write on demand, but I love it. I love the urgency of it, the passivity of it. We are set a topic and time and must produce within those constraints. Under these circumstances my pen flies across my notebook, my fingers will cramp because I am writing so fast. The ideas spill and bleed across the paper, and I feel liberated by the constraints upon me. Under the dictates of a proffered topic and finite period of time I can produce.
Why then, when the kids are sleeping (sorry Natasha) and I have all the time in the world, when the choice of topic is mine and mine alone, do I struggle? Am I so helpless and directionless that I cannot write unless someone has given me a topic? Perhaps.
Send me your topics and I will write about them.
[I feel like the balloon clown at the circus... tell me an animal and I will make it out of balloons...]