Something strange happens sometimes. You experience a moment, a flash in time that is so inspiring, so beautiful, that as a writer you can’t wait to record it.
The words spill out, each one crowding the next as they fly over the page, settling onto the white spaces of it like a flock of birds on a fresh-cut field. You write what could very well be your best work ever in twenty minutes flat, the inspiration so amazing, so beautiful that you can hardly contain it all in mere words.
And then it's over.
The world settles back into place around you, and you're left feeling drained, spent, mind reeling, wondering if you'll ever be able to write again.
For those few precious moments, it was easy, a perfectly orchestrated symphony of words and images and phrases coming together to create something really special, something beautiful and unique.
But most of the time, it's hard.
When I first started writing, it was difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that not everything I wrote was going to be my best work. I just couldn't understand how one day I could write beautifully, and the next it was like I'd forgotten how to string together a coherent sentence.
Well, it's the next day, y'all. It has been for about a week.
Now, before this becomes one of those whiny writer's block posts that we all know I'm capable of writing, I figure I better shift gears a bit and talk about Seinfeld.
Growing up in my dry and witty household, Seinfeld was a commodity, a staple upon which we feasted every Thursday night. I learned many life lessons (particularly what NOT to do) from the likes of Elaine, Jerry, Kramer, and George. I laughed about things like contraceptive sponges and being the "master of my domain," even when the meaning of both were largely lost upon me as a clueless preteen.
Despite the fact that it's been off the air for more than ten years, Seinfeld quotes still pepper the conversation of many a family gathering, where you might hear any member of my family shout out "Cartwright!" or "No soup for you!" over Sunday dinner. We like to say that for every situation life throws at you there is a Seinfeld episode that corresponds and relates in some cosmic way.
The same can be said for the bout of "writer's block" that I'm currently facing.
This time I’m reminded of the Seinfeld episode when George tries to leave every situation "on a high note." He wants to leave a good impression, for everyone to remember him when he was on his game, and so he adopts an "I'm out!" philosophy. When he happens to pitch a good idea or tell a particularly funny joke, he immediately bows out of the room. He thinks that leaving on a high note will make him seem more clever to his friends and colleagues. And maybe that's true...for awhile.
But, as in most Seinfeld episodes, George's plan eventually backfires, and he's left juggling more than he bargained for. The English major in me wants to over-analyze the message that the Seinfeld writers are sending. And so I will.
Life has plenty of high notes; if we're lucky, we all get to experience those precious moments when everything is perfectly in sync and grooving. With writing. With work. With life at home. But life has plenty of duds as well, and there's absolutely no way to avoid them. Eventually, they just catch up with us.
The trick is to keep going. Write past creative blocks. Fight past bad days at work. Look past negative people. And just keep swimming.
Wait, that's Finding Nemo, and I'm mixing my references, but you get what I mean. Bowing out is never an option, not even when the words escape you, not even when it looks like you may never write anything lovely again...
Because just when you've lost all hope, when you think that your voice is gone for good, that flock of words lights on the white spaces of your page and inspiration takes flight.
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