writer’s block

NaBloPoMo: Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

So long, farewell
Auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu
To you and you and you

We’ve come to the end of another NaBloPoMo. I made it. I’m very proud that I completed 30 daily posts 3 years in a row.

This year was the toughest.  I really hoped this annual challenge would liberate me from whatever was preventing me from being able to blog freely. Act as Drano for my brain (I’ve seen the wonders it can do on my unlucky sink in the bathroom).  Unfortunately, it didn’t. I never felt like I hit my stride, and every post felt like a struggle. I hope reading them didn’t feel that way although I don’t know if I wrote anything worthwhile this month.

It wasn’t NaBloPoMo’s fault.  The truth is that there is a lot going on that is taking up brainpower to sort and manage. My poor brain is protesting, “No more! I can’t think anything profound right now.”

As always, though, I enjoyed the challenge, and I enjoyed keeping up with fellow participants. I always learn something each year, even if this year’s realization was “there’s no more bandwidth!”

Thank you for following along. I appreciate every reader and every comment. And my tree is still not working 100% despite the MacGyver-ish attempts by Jimmy to make it work today. $%*k!!!!!

(And can we all agree that the only Maria is Julie Andrews and that there is no other The Sound of Music than the one she was in?)

Time to put away the turkeys and the russet colors and break out the red and green.

See you in December 🙂

Blogging Daily

Today’s prompt for NaBloPoMo is the following:

Tell us what you’ve learned so far about daily blogging

What I’ve learned is that it is not easy.  What I’ve learned is that just because you have completed the NaBloPoMo challenge successfully two other years, it is no guarantee that you will complete the third one or find it easier to blog.

I always enjoy participating in NaBloPoMo. I participate because I enjoy the challenge of blogging daily for 30 days, and I enjoy finding it easier and easier to blog as the month goes on.  I seldom rely on the supplied prompts, reveling in finding words spewing from my fingers and blog posts practically composing themselves as the days pass by.  Or something like that…perhaps not quite so gushing.

I’ve felt constrained all year when it came to blogging for a variety of reasons, some mundane and some less so.  There were too many times I sat down in front of my laptop and tried to write but felt nothing flow. It felt like I had a clogged drain in my brain (ha! It rhymes!).  I looked forward to participating in my 3rd NaBloPoMo because this year I really needed the exercise, the challenge.

Unfortunately, I still feel blocked. I have a thousand drafts in my folder, posts I’ve started furiously and with a great deal of purpose and passion.  And 3/4 of the way through, the enthusiasm wanes, and I look at what I’ve written and I cringe.  The thoughts don’t meld. The words don’t flow. And worst of all, I’ve lost my enthusiasm for the topic, wondering what in the world I could possibly have to contribute to it.  Each year I usually have a few of those posts, but this year, 2013, it has been really bad. The ennui has been very bad.

My brain works and churns and composes, but my body sighs and gives up, the mood past, the muse long departed.  How do you entice the muse back once she has departed? What is her currency? Food? Wine? Glory? I wish I knew.

Maybe part of my problem is that I never had a chance to get into a groove because I had to go out of town a few days after NaBloPoMo started. Maybe a better blogger would power through. Maybe a better writer would know how to unclog the drain between my brain and my fingers.

I’m all ears or eyes. Share your tricks with me.

Cat’s Got My Tongue or Something Like That

It’s been nice to see a few stories about Gen X in the media recently.  After all, hi! We still exist! The media is obsessed with the Boomers (for what…4 or 5 decades now?) and Millennials, and it can be easy to forget that there is a generation in between the Boomers and Millennials, a generation doing quite well, thank you very much.

I’ve written before about my feelings about being a Gen Xer. They’re mixed because depending on where you get your data, I’m either part of the very end of Gen X or possibly one of the oldest Millennials.  Most of the milestones for Gen X happened when I was still a small child, so while I remember them, they aren’t really my milestones like they are for someone 5-10 years older. And the events and habits that define Millennials are things that are at least 5-10 years younger than I am.  It’s like being part of a lost generation, a generation that exists in some Never-Never Land.

This article about Gen X got it right. Again, some of the examples they use are for older members of the generation, but the overall feeling and characterization is spot on: Meh. I picture that utterance accompanied with a shrug. It’s not negative. It’s not positive. It just is, and it’s freeing.  Because the spotlight has so seldom been on Gen X, we’ve been allowed to chart our own course and to develop ourselves without the sheer numbers that change society like the Boomers and the online opportunities to which Millennials are accustomed.

We’re here, plodding along, doing our thing, and we’re OK with that.

I could go on and on about the article, but I’m curious about your impression. If you are Gen X, do you agree? If you are not Gen X, what do you think, and if you work with Gen Xers, what’s it like?

***

We’ve had a wonderful week with Daniel.  After weeks of tantrums and whining and crying at the drop of a hat that was capped off by me bursting into tears last Sunday after a particularly trying afternoon, this week has been calm and pleasant. And you better believe I’m knocking on every piece of wood I can find.

That has been the definition of age  so far: wonderful moments and teary lows. We’re hopeful that maybe this week wasn’t a fluke and that the Pre-K transition is over. Maybe our talks and warnings and consequences and tears have finally gotten through, and we’re able to reason and talk through hairy moments. Fingers and toes are crossed.

***

We went to our local Farmer’s Market to buy pumpkins and flowers today.  I’m pleased to say that Daniel is just as infatuated with Fall as we are.  I got out our Halloween decorations when I was home on Monday, and he has been demanding one of my decorative pumpkins every day.  We happily picked out pumpkins to decorate our porch and mums to plant in our garden.

It was weird doing all this when it is almost 90 degrees, but that’s North Carolina. Next weekend, it could be 65 (and I’d LOVE it!).

Daniel among the pumpkins

Pumpkin Man!

***

I’m having a bit of writer’s block lately. I’m not even sure if that’s what it is, but when I sit down to blog, I can’t get my thoughts together.  I have so many posts in draft status because I write and write and write and then just taper off, unable to finish.  I’ve thought posts through in the shower and while I’m getting ready, but they fade away. The words don’t flow. I reread the drafts, and the sentences are awkward and clumsy, and the metaphors and analogies are silly, and I’m embarrassed and frustrated. I’ve never considered myself to be an elegant writer, but I expect a basic competence from myself that has been lacking.

Maybe I need to do more of Mel’s Pump and Dump type of writing.  Maybe it’s a good thing that NaBloPoMo is next month.  Hopefully the challenge of blogging every day will clear this blockage.

What I haven’t thought much about is whether my inability to write is symbolic of some other stress in my life (work, I’m looking at you).

What I do know is that Fall is my little family’s favorite time of year. While I’m stunned it’s October, I’m thrilled. Holidays, good food, family, fun events…all are on tap and being scheduled. And as the leaves turn golden and orange and red, I feel myself waking up and feeling alive. The beauty of this time of  year hits me like a hammer, and I’m determined we will enjoy it.

Daniel and mums

Daniel among the mums

What’s So Amazing About Really Deep Thoughts?

I can’t seem to write lately. I couldn’t put something together for National Infertility Awareness Week. I wanted to write something for PAIL’s most recent theme because believe me, I have lots of things to say, but I worked on a post for days and was never able to make it coherent.  I have several half-started posts in draft status. I guess this is what writer’s block looks like?

Maybe it’s that I am incapable of deep thought right now.  My brain seems flighty and moody right now. I have two new books in my iBooks and an honest-to-god tangible book that I checked out from the library on my nightstand, and I can’t bring myself to start them. Instead I waste time on Buzzfeed or Twitter.

I don’t think I’m the only one in my household suffering from Flighty Brain Syndrome. Jimmy and I have given up our weekly declarations that we WILL start Game of Thrones finally. We settle for repeats of space shows (there’s some weird shit in the universe) or even an episode of Starkey’s Monarchy (we’re on Henry II and Beckett). Or an episode of Coupling when we’re particularly brain dead (three words: “Lesbian Spank Inferno.” That episode is gold).

Maybe my brain has been trained to cool off this time of year thanks to 17 years of school on a traditional calendar. Muscle memory and all that.

Today starts Daniel’s last week as a 3-year-old. One week from today he’ll be 4. Mind. Blown (apparently that isn’t difficult right now).  We’re having his first kiddie party next weekend, and I’m thinking about garbage truck cakes and herding sugar-fueled preschoolers.

And we’re going to the beach for a week at the end of June. I think all 3 of us are counting down the days.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe my brain is on vacation already.