I don’t get Writer’s Block, I get soul-sludge. I’ve written best during the week after getting home from work, getting The Baby fed and to bed – run around the whole day, and get two hours in at night.
Why? Because I that’s when I feel alive, when I don’t have a moment to think, the whole day a blur of Getting Things Done. I don’t want my life to be comfortable, ever. It used to be, in high school and in college, and I resented it. I dropped out of college because I had Soul Sludge. And the next few months were a rapid blur of drug-use and frantic writing.
Except then I had nothing to do. I wrote, I worked part-time, I imbibed intoxicants. Writing was half-decent, but I was feeling stagnant, and it was eating at me. So I went hitchhiking, back and forth across the country.
Hitchhiking was amazing. Every day a new town, new state, new city, new people, new experiences I’d never thought I’d experience. I’d never felt so full of motion, so god damn full of life.
I have a wife and a child now, a full-time job. During the week I don’t stop moving, frenetic and dashing from work to baby to writing and then finally crashing into bed. In school I could never fall asleep – heart gnawing unfulfilled days.
But on the weekends I hardly leave the house – I’m on baby duty. And while the kid gives me plenty to do, once the baby’s in bed it’s just me, and an empty, silent townhouse. There isn’t a gnawing, but my head stays fogged, as though I’ve been staring at the TV for 72 hours. Spending hours outside helps, sort of.
And once I finally get to the typewriter, Saturday and Sunday nights… but my head’s stagnant, and I can’t get the neurons out of the fog of inactivity. I feel dead: stare at blank paper, crumble shitty sentences into the waste-basket, check the blog, masturbate, there’s no beer and I’m upset about this, I hate TV, I’ll eat pancakes out of Syrup Lake, hating myself, Soul-Sludge, can’t sleep because I’m not tired, the wall hurts my forehead, I can’t focus, focus, focus, it’s not happening, god damnit, I wish I could just sleep. And there’s no beer.
Christmas Week was a blast. We visited family in NJ (All of our family is in NJ, 500 miles away). We didn’t stop moving, dashing to see people, running around buying shit for people we know little about. The entire week was a blur of activity. I didn’t get to sleep – I crashed when I could. The entire week talking, talking, talking to everyone I love and haven’t seen all year. I didn’t write the entire week because there was Absolutely No Time. And it was the best week I’ve had in months, and the whole week was in Family Gear. And drinking with Great Friends.
This is what I want out of life, not material gain and success and happiness, but just fulfillment, days of constant motion, weeks passing in cartoon speed-blurs. It’s the only way I feel alive. I need something to keep me moving, and after watching Child all day, the distant dream of writing for a living is too intangible to excite my blood.
I want Neal Cassady energy. I have it, I can tap it, I can focus it into work, work, work – but I need to be moving. Move all day, sit and write for five hours and crash. I’ll love it, when I get it. Till then, digging out of the Soul Sludge.
This is labeled My Most Poorly Written Blog Post, because, Soul Sludge.
But to continue the Mind Spool, maybe there’s a novel out of this. I’m desperate to write a novel. I’m putting a self-published series of short stories in a few months – 5 Stories for $5. You’ll buy it, thanks in advance. I have a hitchhiking novella I’m desperate to write, a true story, and then I Need To Write A Novel. And I’ve been wracking to get the theme before I can find a plot.
Theme: Soul Sludge. It’s generational, a Decadent Ailment of the times. A catharsis of youthfulness repressed by college and consumerism, loans and useless expenditures and the full-time jobs we drain our vitality into just to pay for it all.
There was the Lost Generation, the Beats, Hippies, Punks. And now, nothing. Oh, sorry, are you “Alternative”? How’s your 9-5? Is your health insurance paid up? Of course it is. Because there isn’t anything but college debt and health insurance and smartphones, no matter how many tattoos you have, or what Indie concerts you attend. You went to Bonaroo? But then back to the office. Because for one week out of the year you pulled your feet from the Soul Sludge.
Soul Sludge – it’s ruined America’s youth.