Listen To Your Broccoli

“A man receives only what he is ready to receive, whether physically or intellectually or morally, as animals conceive at certain seasons their kind only. We hear and apprehend only what we already half know. By and by we may be ready to receive what we cannot receive now.” Henry David Thoreau

Lately, for the past few months to be exact I have been writing and posting articles about writing. After every post, I promise myself that this is going to be the last one on that particular subject. Not that I don’t enjoy talking or writing about writing, on the contrary it keeps me happy. Perhaps it is the only thing that keeps me happy at this time in my life. These days I am nostalgic for the great pleasure of a working schedule. Oh how I long to get settled into a routine, a working pattern that allows me to sit at my desk and work for large chunks of uninterrupted hours. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be doing that. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be sitting at my desk and pounding on the keys of my keyboard creating my book. I have all the time I need to do exactly what I want. But I don’t. Perhaps I have too much free time on my hands. I procrastinate, I waste time on the internet. I try to cook and bake run unnecessary errands. I try to stall for as long as I can to stay away from my page. It’s not writer’s block that I am suffering from. No.

These past years trouble has been following me like my own shadow. Everywhere I look there is problem. Every way I turn there is more trouble and heartache. I try to look further, past these difficulties, for solutions but to no avail. Either there is none or I am too blinded by my pain that I can’t seem to find any. I cannot even get close to what might be an escape from my current situation. In previous years it helped if I sat down and wrote about what was bothering me, but not this time.

Anne Truitt wrote:

“The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one’s own most intimate sensitivity.”

Why am I so afraid then to commit myself to the written word? Why am I frightened to lose myself in my story? In order to be true to myself and my writing I have to dig deep inside, move along the nerve of my most intimate sensitivity. What am I scared to discover? Is it the fear of facing my own demons that is holding me back? Or is it because at this point in my life I do not totally understand what is really happening to me and why? In the words of Anne Lamott:

“But a writer always tries, I think, to be a part of the solution, to understand a little about life and to pass this on.”

Hence if I don’t understand, and I am not talking about having a strong moral philosophy on life, but just simply to grasp the meaning of all this, then how am I supposed to deal with the situation and write about it? If I don’t believe in what I am saying, then there’s no point in saying it. I might as well call it a day and do something else, like I have been doing for the past four months or so, blogging and writing about writing. I know by and by I will be ready to understand what I cannot understand now. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh on myself, I don’t know. I shouldn’t try to be so judgmental or rational about all this. Maybe I should just listen to that small voice inside me that tells me to get it all down on paper. Maybe I should listen to my broccoli as Mel Brooks (playing a therapist in the comedy “2000-Year-Old Man”) would say to his patient.

“Listen to your broccoli, and your broccoli will tell you how to eat it.”


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