The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Posts Tagged ‘writer’s block

Five things

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I don’t feel like writing today. I was quite content savouring a stupidly expensive bottle of 30-year-old single malt while I watched the third season of Californication, but I kept thinking that I should write something. Is there such a thing at writer’s guilt? If so, I’m sure that there’s a medically prescribed cocktail of chemicals to combat it. To render it a foggy, distant memory. The kind that feels like a deluded creation of your subconscious, but whose reality is verified by the plethora of receipts, cash and phone numbers in your pocket. Lamentably, I don’t have a prescription for the aforementioned, so for once, I’ve decided to heed my own advice in order to appease the writing deities and stave off writer’s guilt for another twenty-four hours.

During the week, I suggested to someone who was endeavouring to write more frequently and creatively that they should list five things that they could touch from where they were sitting to write, and then concoct a synopsis for each of the items. My rationale was that a great writer needs to have the ability to engage their audience with even the most mundane of subjects, so, by carrying out my challenge, one would have to think outside the box in order to make the commonplace interesting. See, I sporadically have lucid moments in which I can offer sound advice. Just call me Professor Keane. I figured that making my own list of five things was not only a good way to make Thalia happy, wherever the single sock-wearing bitch is, but that is was coincidentally an easy way to come up with a TDoT post without thinking too hard.

Yes, my apartment really is THAT small.

1. My laptop

If you want to get technical, it’s an Acer Aspire 5735. Truth be told, I’m actually in the market for a new laptop: this one has a serious problem with the left mouse button, and it’s starting to shit me to the point where it may take a flight off my sixth floor balcony in the very near future. I’m not sure what has caused the problem, and several of my friends have offered their own theories as to why the button is sticking, but I’m pretty confident that as with many of my previous computers, the issue is closely related to my predilection for spilling beer, Scotch and myriad of other liquids on it.

The most interesting fact about this laptop is that I got it through a salary sacrificing arrangement when I was working at a bank. I resigned shortly after the second fortnightly payment was made, and waited for the call saying that they wanted it back. The call never came, and I scored a brand new laptop for a little over $48. Bargain.

2. Coins

Four dollars and forty-five cents. That’s Australian currency, which equates to a little under NZ$6, and about fifteen-hundred Zimbabwean dollars. Whoever said that hyperinflation would never make me feel better about myself?

3. Scotch

I’m drinking remnants of a bottle of Glenfarclas I picked up about twelve months ago. As I alluded to in the first line of this post, it’s a 30-year-old single malt, and cost a lot more than a bottle of Scotch that’s being used to aid a Sunday afternoon writing session should. I could dribble on about how it tastes, but I’ve always found narratives about the nose, flavour and finish of a beverage to sound somewhat pretentious. Besides, I can’t taste the cognac, brandy, nuts, and marzipan that the good people at the Glenfarclas distillery tell me that any self-respecting single malt aficionado should be able to.

What I am sure of however, is that I added a dash of water and three ice cubes. Before the purists out there start sending me hate mail, I’ve always been an advocate of drinking something how you like to drink it. That said, feel free to drop me a line and explain why I’m not experiencing the ”real taste of burnt chocolate” at the back of my mouth.

My poorly prepared glass of Scotch rests on a coaster that I made at the office one day, as a result of boredom and wanting to test a new label maker. Its creation probably falls under the category of an irresponsible use of company resources.

My awesome coaster: not just good for coffee.

4. The third season of Californication

For all its sex, language and depravity, the characters really are well written and have been developed strongly over the initial two seasons.  Whether that continues in this season and the fourth begs to be seen – I’m just getting onto the second disc, and it seems that Hank, while still a drunken, drug dabbling womaniser, is starting to mellow (much like my Scotch as the ice begins to melt) and display a somewhat deeper, more philosophical side to himself.

Charlie Harper, if he could write. Source: sho.com

While it’s not relevant, I’d like to admit that I may have developed a small crush on Diane Farr, who plays Hank’s TA.

5.  My BlackBerry Bold 9700 

When I bought it, it was the only white one that I’d seen in my travels, which I figured made it unique, and as such, desirable.  When the gangly and seemingly bored sales assistant offered that “guys don’t normally buy the white one”, I decided that I had to have it, just to spite him.

My Christmas wish?  For BlackBerry to make me a one of a kind in purple and lime.

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Written by disseminatedthought

November 27, 2011 at 15:18

Why inspiration doesn’t appear in the mirror

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Inspiration. It’s one of those overused and somewhat clichéd words favoured by life coaches and personal trainers to, well, inspire clients to want to be better versions of their current selves, in whatever form that may take.

inspiration /ɪnspɪˈreɪʃ(ə)n/

noun

1. the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
2. the quality of being inspired.
3. a person or thing that inspires.
4. a sudden brilliant or timely idea.

Shit. I’m currently 0-4. What one uses as inspiration is a very personal thing, and something that inspires you may bore me to tears, while something that enlivens yours truly may have you questioning how many sandwiches are actually missing from my picnic basket. Regular readers of TDoT will be well aware that my inspiration to write has been AWOL for quite some time now. I’ve mused (pun intended) about the disappearance of my beloved Thalia and how she has absconded with my enthusiasm to scribe. Upon further investigation, it would appear that she’s also taken a bottle of Scotch and one of my favourite socks. Who the fuck takes one sock? Wherever she is, I hope she’s enjoying herself. If you happen to stumble across a beautiful woman wearing a single plaid sock and swigging directly from a bottle of 30-year-old single malt, please let me know.

In her absence, I’ve attempted to draw inspiration from other sources. I’ve tried to immerse myself in new ideas and concepts, and I’ve spent some serious time revisiting things that I love, yet none of it is giving me enough of a jolt to start scribbling and constructing prose. I’m hoping that I don’t have to resort to using a car battery and nipple clamps to force a surge of creativity back into me – I saw it in a movie once, and while the protagonist certainly seemed inspired to tell his captors everything that they wanted to hear, it didn’t look all that fun. And let’s face it: if anyone happens to see me sitting on my balcony connecting jumper cables to my body while I smoke a Cohiba and consider the tongue of my newest whisky , there’s a better than average chance that an encounter with a police helicopter won’t be too far away.

The closest I’ve come to creative stimulation recently was on the CityGlider yesterday. I watched a woman assessing herself in a compact mirror that she’d pulled from her handbag, before seemingly adjudging that starting at her reflection in the bus window was the way to go. It led me to hypothesise about mirrors, both literal and metaphorical, and how what we see in them depends not only on the physical qualities of the reflective surface, but also on what we expect to see when we look. Did she not see what she wanted to see upon initial inspection? A few ideas and partial paragraphs started to bounce around between my ears, and I even had the closing pièce de résistance screaming at me before the lights were turned out on my inspiration. Try as I may for the rest of the evening, I couldn’t turn my supposition into anything more than a few dozen poorly structured sentences. Thalia’s absence had bitten me on the ass once again.

The aforementioned pièce de résistance. Yes, it’s written on the back of a coaster. I should really start carrying a notebook in preparation for Thalia’s return...

For me at present, writing is akin to a lighter that’s run out of butane – there may be an inconsequential, quasi impotent spark, but there’s no ignition. It might be time to buy a new lighter.

Written by disseminatedthought

November 24, 2011 at 15:01

Where is my Thalia?

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It’s official: I appear to have writer’s block. I spent over two and a half hours today trying to work on both my novel and a thought-provoking post for this blog, but all I have to show for the former is scattered, incoherent prose in a well-worn notebook. At least that’s something tangible: when I reflect on the latter, the blinking cursor position on the almost blank page seemed to mock me, its solitary presence a jarring reminder that my attempt at creativity had apparently failed. I’m not entirely sure why I thought that writing about writer’s block would help the creative juices to once again flow. Perhaps it was the third vodka, lemonade and lime that assisted in the decision-making process, or perhaps just the simple irony of it appealed to me – as you are well aware, I’m all about the irony.

It’s a very atypical, somewhat surreal sensation to be honest. I’m seldom lost for words, and to have a myriad of ideas, characters and opinions loitering in my head, as if waiting for the 4:06pm bus to Creativity that isn’t going to show up, may be unhinging me slightly. I am mystified as to how I have misplaced my Muse, but I have no doubt that I will stumble across her when I least expect it. She will turn up in a place that I’d never think to look for her, but have, simply because she can’t be anywhere else. Actually, when you think about it in that context, a Muse is not dissimilar to a wallet, or a set of keys.

What one uses for their artistic inspiration is a very individual thing. Some draw on personal experiences, both good and bad, while others get fodder from observing the seemingly commonplace in everyday life. Wherever your inspiration comes from, the general consensus is that if your Muse doesn’t want you to create, you won’t, regardless of how powerful the inspiration is. You may very well retain it for later use, but if that bitch has decided that now isn’t the time for you to write a modern day Nineteen Eighty-Four or repaint the Mona Lisa, you may as well just go with the flow – you can’t argue with her. Personally, I’ve found my Muse to be charming yet sociopathic. Insightful yet delusional. Committed, yet likely to take flight at a moment’s notice. She works when she pleases, keeps odd hours, and is probably the one who keeps eating the leftover curry in the fridge, without bothering to ask who it belongs to. Oh, Thalia, where art thou?

So here we are. In an added attempt to take a plunger to my writer’s block, I’m going to ask you, the readers of TDoT, to choose the topic for my next post. Either comment with your suggestions, or email me.

In closing, I think it would be remiss of me to do a piece on creative inspiration – or current lack thereof – and not make reference to Nick Cave’s defence of his Muse in a letter he sent to MTV:

“My relationship with my Muse is a delicate one at the best of times, and I feel that it is my duty to protect her from influences that may offend her fragile nature.”

Written by disseminatedthought

July 24, 2011 at 17:39