Blocking the Writer

This appeared in The Chieftain back in 1999 or 2000, one of several personal columns I insisted on submitting and which were usually relegated to the bottom of the editorial page. They were also accompanied by a mug shot that made me look like a turtle, so that was pretty neat. If I’m not mistaken, I also used this bit of writing as part of a resume that would eventually land me a job at The Itawamba County Times, which leads to all kinds of questions about that paper’s standards at the time. Enjoy.

Let me tell you about writer’s block. Writer’s block is a disease that affects those of us whose chosen art form is the written word. What this disease does is destroys all the writing ability the writer has. To worsen the pain, writer’s block only inflames if the infected writer desperately needs to write something immediately. Take me, for example, and the story I am currently writing (or supposed to be writing). My contribution to the commentary section of today’s paper was supposed to be filled with deep meaning, symbolism, great characters, funny jokes, sentimental moments, biting wit, and guarantee me a Pulitzer Prize. Instead it’s what you are presently reading. Sad isn’t it? That’s the destructive power of writer’s block.

Scientists have spent many years and dollars trying to scientifically piece together the puzzle of writer’s block. Questions such as where does it come from, why is it here, how does it work, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood, and why does it strike so suddenly at the most inappropriate time (Murphy’s Law?) have baffled the top minds in the scientific field for ages. Research has only presented new questions, to which the answers do not seem to exist.

One theory suggests that Brazilian monkeys, brought to America and other countries on Zoo Ships, spread the disease by biting a writer. Though there is no definitive proof of such an occurrence, it is the most popular the few theories regarding the origin of the problem.

We do know this: writer’s block is a serious problem among writers. It has caused a great number of fantastic novels, short stories, essays, poems, songs, and articles (see this one for an example) to become absolute garbage. After many years of attempting to put an end to dilemma, scientists have discovered the only cure for writer’s block is to stop writing. And so, its author in need of a cure, this article comes to an abrupt end.

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