I think I've mentioned once or twice that writing sometimes feels like death -- or what I imagine feels like death, because I've never come close to dying as far as I know. It might feel more like childbirth without drugs -- which I DO NOT recommend and can say with authority feels much worse than running out of words to put on paper. So it's not as bad as death, but it's quite maddening when you want to say something and have nothing to say. I'm always curious how other writers manage their demons. Many refuse to speak on the subject, while others write long winded how-to manuals or -- worse -- advise would-be authors and journalists to do something else -- so screw them.
My demons are topics. The words come out fine when their focused on something I care about, but sometimes I really don't give a crap -- then writing is hell, like I'm standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open -- I'm starving and there's a million things to eat but not one of them looks remotely appetizing.
I ask for suggestions, and Jerod offers something brilliant like, "Write about duct tape and chalk." Feeling rather uninspired on both subjects I looked up "writing games" today on the Internet. While most of the results are geared towards children I happened upon a couple of sites -- Writer's Block Help and Language is a Virus -- that are loaded with tips to deal with roadblocks.
The what-if game: "What if your dreams were reality?"
If you think you had it bad, think again, friend. My mom sent me packing on my fifth birthday -- chucked me off the 520 bridge on our way to ballet class. She stopped the car in the middle of the highway and dragged me out kicking and screaming. I grabbed at her clothes with my 5-year-old fingers, but she was determined. She called me a rotten brat, and -- bloop -- off the bridge I went. "Have a nice life, kid," she shouted over the railing and threw in a suitcase after me.
Like that wasn't bad enough, I got attacked by a mummy on the playground within days of emancipation from my parents. I thought he was friendly at first, despite his bandages and crimson eyes. He pushed me on the swings and helped me across the monkey bars. I thought we were friends, but his harmless demeanor took a sinister turn as we mounted the merry-go-round. He spun me around and around and let loose a maniacal laugh as I sprayed the playground with vomit like a lawn sprinkler. When the ride stopped and the mummy grew tired of my fussing, he stuffed me all sticky with throw-up in a blue mailbox and disappeared. My memory gets a little fuzzy after that. I know I made it out of the mailbox, because my teacher sent me to prison for spilling peanuts at circle time.
I was a hardened criminal before I finished Montessori school, and people complain to me about their pissy little problems. I wonder how they'd feel wearing my shoes for a day. My home's a loft apartment with dog-sized rats in a neighborhood reminiscent of Sweeney Todd's Fleet Street. All of the residents here have blond hair and black eyes that glow red at night. They corner me sometimes in the stairwell and come after me with knives and needles. There's also an ax murderer in the building.
This guy's been after me since prom night. On our first encounter, I was hiding from my date in the girls' locker room. I noticed there were several tall stacks of what appeared to be gym towels all around me. Curious, I poked at one of the piles and discovered -- beneath the towels -- a collection of body parts, and there -- breathing down the back of my neck with his ax in the air -- was the tall, faceless killer. He chased me through the school on a four wheeler, while my classmates pointed and laughed at my predicament.
I've drowned in oceans and lakes and rivers. I've fallen out of airplanes and off of cliffs and ferry boats. I've been shot and stabbed and buried alive in a pit full of earthworms. I've been taken hostage by terrorists and zombies and befriended by talking sharks. I'm randomly, inexplicably naked, bald and toothless. But my grandpa's still alive -- and he flies and hops all over the place -- which more than makes up for the awful stuff.
In closing: I know it's ridiculous, and my mom will probably yell at me for dreaming in kindergarten that she tossed me over a bridge. But I filled the void with words, and no lives were threatened in the process.