Today, uninspiration looks like a flat, glassy river. It tastes like ginger rice with smoked salmon and goat cheese. It feels like a hibernating bear. It smells like natural spring-dampened soil. It sounds like the tapping of keys on a keyboard.

In other words, the world may present itself with all the sensory details for tales of inspiration to unfold from. It may glow memoir, fiction, poem, narrative. But if it lands on the numbness of a writer under the weather and lacking sleep, chances are the first line will never take hold. Furthermore, chances are that the writer will torture herself with odd indifference, not even bothering to question the sources of current dismay. Some days will be long, some will be swift, others will meander timelessly like a raft heading downstream.

My friend Cam the poet says his voice died when he went for his MFA. He swallowed it whole, choking on it the first year in constant, soul-wrenching regurgitation. The ego-poets ate him alive, even though he is one of the finest, most delicate writers I know. His second year he digested his voice, sacrificing all nourishment and giving in to the shit of teeth clenching academia and the fight to stay alive. He played even though he knew he would lose. It wasn’t a type of winning he wanted in the first place.

Tomorrow the manuscripts for critique are sent out via email. My writing, everyone else’s writing – all of it to be printed on pristine white sheets from printers all across the country. It begins on a clean page, the intent of which is to allow enough space in the margins for scribbling comments, criticisms, questions.

If it is possible to sink and float at the same time, that is what I feel like.

  • Anonymous

    My favorite note on process and preparedness yet. So compact and lucid. Awesome.

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