Saturday, October 21, 2006

There's No Such Thing As Writer's Block

There's no such thing as writer's block.
Wait patiently for a poem to drop.
There's no such thing as writer's block.
Just wait and scribble and breathe.
Dot your i's and cross your t's.
Stop thinking that it must have this or that
to rank significant,
worthy of a scholarly recipient.
A fly will buzz, a fan will drone.
Tell the muse there's somebody home.

Make her think you're drifting,
Sometimes she drops in unexpectedly.
Never on cue.

There's no such thing as writer's block.
Don't let the ink get dry.
Write, write, write, write.
March the rhythm by.
Can a muse refuse a cadence?
Will she just pass by?

Write, write, write, write.
Your mind's a metronome.
Read it again, then one more time.
Listen to the fan drone.

Tap, tap, tap, tap.
Don't worry, it will come…
after a load of clothes, perhaps,
after the coffee's done.
There's no such thing as writer's block,
just muses that like to roam.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Come-to-Jesus Meeting (AKA: The Locker Room Talk)

I was angry at my boss. Okay, I was SPITTIN' angry! My blood was boiling, my hands were shaking. I couldn't get it out of my mind. How could she treat her most loyal employee like this? I had been working 80 hours a week, filling in for people who took time off, doing three people's jobs (including hers)... and yet, when I ask for some time off, she says she can't spare me. If anyone deserved some time off, it was I!!!

Luckily, it was close enough to lunch time that leaving wouldn't seem unusual. So I grabbed my workout gear, stormed out, and headed to the YMCA to work off some steam. I got on the step machine and started stepping as hard and fast as I could. I did some free weights, I walked briskly around the track. If only the racquetball courts weren't already reserved. I could inflict some HEAT on a little blue ball! Oh yes! So I got on the treadmill. Usually, working out helped me think through things and either come to my senses, or at least make myself too tired to be worked up. But not this time.

After about 45 minutes of sweating, swearing, contemplating my righteousness and her wrongedness, going over and over in my head what I would like to say to her (and to think, we were FRIENDS!)…I flung open the door to the locker room. I stared at the lockers, breathing in that sweaty, musty odor. Now it was time to clean up and go back to work... but I wasn't ready yet. I sat down on the bench huffing, not just from the strenuous exercise but from the injustice of it all. I stared at my sneakers.

In fast-forward speed, I said to myself "Aren't you going to pray about this?" The question came and went so fast through my brain, it was like a lightning bolt. The sky lit up, and then there was darkness. I paused. I huffed. I began to do that God-forsaken "thinking and brooding" again, as if I were drowning and needed to tread water to stay alive. Kick, kick, breathe, breathe, "how could she?!" huff, huff, huff. "Does she want to burn me out? Does she want her most valuable employee to quit? I really need some time off!" I couldn't even stop my mind long enough to pray... long enough to just say "Jesus, a little help?"

I sat there on the bench facing the orange lockers, hung my head down, fought back tears. I took a deep breath. "Lord, I can't seem to stop my mind from racing... so you don't have much time in between thoughts, but I need your help to get past this. I'm going to try to be quiet and listen for you, but you may only have a split second." I took another breath. When I blew it out, the anger was gone. Poof!

Now, I know that "locker room talks" from coaches are supposed to be filled with fire from the belly. I know that "Come-to-Jesus meetings" are not really meetings at all, but tongue-lashings. Both of these phrases conjure up a picture of berating, brow-beating brimstone that leaves the recipient filled with regret and pain. But for me, the locker room talk was a blessed relief, and the Come-to-Jesus Meeting was a warm embrace. I left the locker room knowing that He could truly take away my grief and anger if I would but ask.... and he could do it in a micro-second.

I don't even recall in much detail what happened after that. I went back and stated my case to my friend/boss in a calm and loving manner, and was content with the outcome. Honestly, I don't know if she gave in and let me take some time off, or if she explained why she couldn't and I accepted it. It really doesn't even matter. What matters is the time I spent with Jesus, allowing him to put salve on my wounds and help me stand. I am convinced that God is outside of time, because the time I gave him was so small, it cannot even be measured. But even in the blink of an eye he can do great things; bless his holy name.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

When Will Horses Fly?

When I was first diagnosed, I believed that I would be inspired to write a lot, because writing has always been like therapy for me. But I sure haven't written very much in the past two years! As usual, I bring out the notebooks, mull over old writings, and then put them away until the muse comes again. I KNOW that I have to invite the muse by picking up my pen (or perch my fingers on the keyboard)... but, like many things that I KNOW (how to diet, how to exercise, how to pray, how to study, how to ..... okay you get the picture), I seldom actually put my knowledge into practice.

My friend MahrKay told me yesterday that I should write about the "Come to Jesus" meeting I had in the locker room of the YMCA. No, there was no coach yelling at me about how I'd lost the game for the rest of the team. Just me and God.

I think I'll write about it tomorrow. :) How's that for using the ancient writer's tool: "Suspense"?