Thursday, September 10, 2015

What if I forgot how to write?

Photo courtesy of MJ Boswell/Flickr

I have this reoccurring dream that I can't run anymore.

I'm not paralyzed. Not physically tired. I've simply forgotten how to run.

I'll be in situations where I need to run – usually to escape some faceless, ominous presence, but it's as if my legs are underwater. Encased in molasses. They can't or won't move quickly.

In the most recent incarnation of this dream, I'm either trying out for "American Idol" or an "American Idol" finalist in a concert tour (this part is a little murky) at some giant amphitheater somewhere. 

I'm minutes from my performance and I haven't picked a song yet. I'd decided that the Disney song I had planned to perform (likely something in the vein of "A Whole New World" or "Under the Sea") was too Broadway and that I should pick something that showcased my range and had some more edge to it. (Remember, it's MY dream. And in MY dream I get to have an impressive vocal range.) If subconscious memory serves, I was leaning toward doing "Me and Bobby McGee" (something those who attended my recent reading will laugh about) but I couldn't remember all the lyrics. 

In the midst of my conundrum nature called. Only at this particular venue, the bathrooms were back behind the lawn seats. So I'm on my cell phone searching for the lyrics to "Bobby McGee" on the way to the bathroom (the signal is spotty, of course), seemingly miles away from the stage, when my name is announced. It's my turn to perform. I need to get to the stage 10 minutes ago. 

I try to run.

I can't. 

My name is called again. I can feel the urgency – the adrenaline coursing through my body – but it doesn't translate to my legs. They can't remember how to shove off the asphalt in front of me. To lift up and pump forward and hit the ground again. 

I can walk. And I do walk. But it doesn't matter. My name is called a third time. Shouting that I'm on my way is useless. Nobody would hear. They're going to move on to the next singer. I keep walking. 

I wake up.

Nobody gets to hear my astounding vocal gymnastics. I probably just pee my pants.

As I lay there in that post-dream fog, I start to think that maybe I really can't run. That if I got up at that moment it would be impossible.

This is how I feel about writing these days. Particularly fiction writing. But all writing, really. 

A blanket has been thrown over the right hemisphere of my brain. 

Day-to-day, I'm living in the left hemisphere. Seeking out more small shoes to put away, more dried bits of Play-Doh to pluck out of the living room carpet, more dishes to do, more online "content" to consume (Hello video about 13 onscreen besties who actually hate each other in real life and 7 adorable animals that are surprisingly violent ... I'm the reason these things keep getting created. I'm like a big mouth bass when it comes to this type of click bait. I shudder to think about how much of my life gets lost in this vortex of bullshit. Oooo what's that? 36 stunning book tattoos that are surprisingly badass. I think I need to see those.) 

It's not as simple of procrastination or avoidance – though it's well documented how I often I deploy both of those tactics when it comes to writing. It feels like something more. 

It's as if the right side of my brain where all the voices live, where all the art happens, where all the colors are, is dark. Dark and silent. Like a volcano that's become dormant. 

Or a bear that's hibernating. Permanently.

Like those dreams where I can't run, only in this case, I can't write. Can't create. Can't even lift up that blanket.  

It's actually kind of a nightmare. 

I hope I wake up soon.

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