The Perfect Absence Note

Last night for the first time since I started blogging, I filled the wastebasket in my room with crumpled papers of my attempts at writing. Not because I was trying to make my piece perfect by cutting and editing and rewriting. No. See there were all these ideas jumbled up inside my head that wanted to come out all at once, and I just couldn’t decide which one to stick with and take it from there. I changed my pen, I tried different ink colors, but to no avail. I switched to my netbook, and still couldn’t come up with one single idea.

Sometimes when things aren’t going well for me, I have a different kind of writer’s block. I get all muddled up inside with all these feelings, dreams and emotions. One moment I am scared, the next moment I am angry, and then I get sad but mostly I feel confused. That’s when I can’t concentrate on anything. That’s when I hop from one idea to another, from one emotion to the next and I can’t:

“…create a vivid, continuous imaginative dream for the reader.” John Gardner

They say that everything that happens (in one’s life) happens for a reason. I believe with time something positive will come out of all of this. Right now I like to think that one day I will be able to sort out all my feelings and fears. I’ll be able to climb out from the bottom that I am in right now and make all this work in a positive way and to my benefit. Then my wastebasket will be filled with paper because I would be just a writer doing what all other writers do, devoting myself to making my work, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page by page the best possible work it may ever be.

In an interview in The Paris Review, E.L. Doctorow tells of the time he had to write a school absence note for his daughter. He sat down, pen in hand, and began: ‘My daughter Caroline…’ and stopped. How silly, he thought, why say that, of course they know she’s my daughter. Again he began: ‘Please be advised…’ no, much too formal. He started again. The paper around him piled up, his daughter fidgeted, the school bus arrived, and finally his wife had to step in, snatch away his pen and scribble off a quick note, all to stop her husband from trying to create, in his words, ‘the perfect absence note’.


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3 Responses to The Perfect Absence Note

  1. The absence story has a real ring of truth to it! As a parent, I’ve had to write many of them and so often have re-written them because they weren’t quite ‘right’! It often takes a non-writer to get straight to the point! 🙂 Hope your muse returns to help you decide the direction your work must go next. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Jumble Spoiler – 06/18/12 « Unclerave's Wordy Weblog

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