… For like a week I’d been suffering from such deep seated self-doubt that I hadn’t been able to pick up so much as a bar of soap without thinking, “I’m not going to do this right.”
— Chris Onstad’s Achewood character, Teodor Orezscu
Rough day, yesterday. Everyone at work is tense and cranky as the dust from the office move settles and the dust from the Giant This-Changes-Everything technology upgrade later this month starts to rise. In the midst of this I’m blithely sitting at a distance, handing off my job responsibilities, and making the occasional well-intentioned gaffe as I try to lend a hand. The New York Times publishes an article about how incredibly tight the rental market is in New York just as Kate and I are starting to seriously look at Craigslist to see how far north into Inwood our one (hypothetical, not-yet-offered) salary is going to place us. An ill-timed phonecall at the end of the day took the time I had wanted to spend going out for a bike ride. I’m struggling with my radio piece for the Public Radio Talent Quest. The first thing I recorded sounds too scripted, too staid, and I’m flailing around trying to capture something with some juice in time for Monday’s deadline. Chad’s comment to me rang especially loudly: “Wait, this contest is a short cut to a career you’ve been wanting for years, you’ve known about it for months, it’s due Monday, and you’re still writing it?” I went to bed last night feeling blocked, like a horrible procrastinator, and pretty well depressed about it.
Woke up this morning out of an involved dream about Jeff’s upcoming wedding. In my dream, it was taking place in Hawai’i (which it will not, in real life), and I was the Best Man (which in real life, I will be). The hotel where everything was taking place was gorgeous, lots of lava rocks and flowers like lava lamps, foodstuffs straight out of the Hawaiian finale to Top Chef, guests milling around in full tuxedos and tails.
In the midst of this, I found myself running around, coordinating with the hotel cooking staff, making sure everyone had seats and the ceremony ran smoothly, and then, realizing that people were sitting down to dinner, sitting down myself to write my congratulatory toast on a napkin. And then my pen went dry. Writers’ block… in a dream. Eventually I got something written down (which I may even wind up using in real life), but I woke to Kate’s alarm at 5:30 with my jaw sore and a faint tension-hangover.
At more than one time in my life, I’ve done my best writing under a strict time limit; I’ve just opened up, free associated, and sunk the ball in the corner pocket. Here’s hoping.