Tuesday 31 January 2012

Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block
Marie Fullerton
Strong black coffee (and plenty of it!)
Writer’s block, procrastination, what’s the difference?
Well I suppose one is deliberate or otherwise … yeah…. delaying tactics and the other is…. well, writer’s block!
‘Here she goes again. I just get excited and, well I mean, how often do you get written? Let me tell you, it’s a once in a lifetime thing. And after all, it isn’t as if there’s a shortage of storylines, is there? I do my best to shove things under her nose then something just drifts into her head and I’m history… again! Totally unreasonable I say, and before you start harping on about writer’s block spare a thought for me for a change. I mean, I’m the story, have you any idea what it’s like not to make it to thought level?
Now this is a new challenge for me, bit of an oxymoronic situation here – me?  Write about writer’s block when I am the queen of it. Thank you to those that made the suggestion.
OK, I’m gonna get serious. Take an image …say… a bath…. ask questions. Is it full, empty, new, old, plastic, ceramic, chipped?  Who is running it? Why? Is she going to pamper herself soaking in hot bubbles with candles around the bath? Or is he planning to drown the kittens? What if the floor gives way and the bath is upstairs? What if…. he wants to be romantic and share the bath… but she slams his head against the tiles and knocks him unconscious before letting him slip, or pushing him, under the water – ‘ He slipped when we were, you know ….. I couldn’t hold him, sob, by the time the water had drained (and I had put my robe on and smoked a cigarette.) he wasn’t breathing, I tried to hold him above water but I …. I feel so awful, I killed him didn’t I? I couldn’t help him!
‘Hooray! She’s got one, now I am real! In existence! I can relax while she gets on with it.’
Hmmm, trouble is that’s been done before …. There is one thing that has always fascinated me though. Where do all the shoes on the motorway come from? They always seem to be men’s, you know, trainers. There must be a story there. He he, that reminds me of a time when I was scrounging a lift from a neighbour, her small son decided he didn’t want to go to school that day and so proceeded to extricate himself from his clothes and attempt to sling them out of the window. Until his mother closed the window that is. By the time he had arrived at this posh public school, he was down to his underpants. Don’t know how I didn’t laugh. We managed to retrieve the majority of them, well minus his cap and I left them to go and explain why they were late to the ….
‘What! What the hell is this? I turn my back thinking I am going to be a delightful murder mystery and she starts rambling on about some delinquent kid next door… Sheesh!’
This is hopeless. My head is buzzing trying to conjure up this story, I can’t decide.
‘Mum!’ a voice escalates from downstairs.
‘What’s for breakfast?’
At seventeen, Tabitha is old enough to sort herself out. I take a deep breath and let out a long sigh before I answer.
‘I am getting ready for work, you’ll have to get your own.’
‘I’m gonna be late, I have to be at Hannah’s or I’ll have to walk.’
The cupboard door slams and a cup falls off the rack smashing into tiny fragments on the tiled floor.
‘Now look what you made me do!’
I resist yelling, refusing to be dragged into her mood.
‘Just sweep it into the corner and I’ll sort it out later – you look in the fridge and decide for yourself what you want for breakfast.’
I finish my make-up and join my daughter downstairs, not daring to look at the state of the kitchen. It will still be there when I get home, I am sure.
‘Did you find something?’ I ask.
I really cannot believe this child - rice pudding on toast! Ah well, at least she’s eaten something and seems happy. By seven am we have left the house and she’s on her way to college and I am waiting to catch the ferry across the harbour.
People are bustling and rushing around, I wonder if they have even noticed the sunrise behind the tower? Two or three gulls silhouette against the bright pink streaks that melt across the last of the night sky. The ferry is rocky this morning and the sea is rising and falling with some force but every so often it stills. The wind whips the waves and the surface looks as if a million cats are lapping at the surface. Oh look, there in the middle of it all, a solitary leaf. What on earth is a sycamore leaf doing floating in the ocean?
Well, that’s it! She’s lost it now – let me get this straight. I start out as a bath, right? Then a murder in the bath, then somehow I end up as an abandoned trainer on a motorway followed by a brat child that de-robes in a car on the way to school. Then, she’s off on one of her daydreams to escape from the breakfast carry on and I end up as a soggy end of some rice pudding on toast in a sea of lapping cats round part of a bloody tree in the ocean! Great! Writer’s block! Where does that leave me? I mean, I just want to be a story.
Marie Fullerton is a retired lecturer, she has eight grown up children and she has wanted to be a writer forever.  She also started painting 21 years ago and is completely self-taught. At 50 she was proud of her 2.1 BA degree for English language, literary history and creative writing at UCC and has since had several poems published in anthologies and short stories in E-zines. She is currently working on two novels. Although she has sold many paintings she has only recently tried her hand at illustrating. You can see her artwork on her Facebook page using the following link here
Blog pages:        http://wordangell.wordpress.com/

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