Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t, but I haven’t posted anything substantial on this blog in over three weeks. I don’t really like the term “writer’s block” because it implies that I can’t write, like something is physically stopping me. But nothing is stopping me, as evidenced by this highly navel-gazing bit of writing you’re reading at this very moment. Or maybe you’re only skimming it, in which case maybe I’ll include some subliminal, coded messages throughout this piece. Of course, because they’re subliminal you’ll only see them if you aren’t looking for them. So don’t look for those messages, you won’t find them. Got it? Good. Now that I’ve completely gotten off track, let’s talk about why I haven’t been writing.
Writing is hard. It’s a hard thing to do, to express oneself in written words. There is a permanence to writing. Not a literal permanence, but a perception of permanence. If I have written something and shown it to people then it is in stone. This is, of course, a load of shit. My opinions in writing are just as fluid as those I speak, and are probably as fluid as the thoughts in my head from one second to the next. That perception is still there, though. It’s as though if I put something in writing I must therefore have put serious thought into my statements and thus I must be able to stand by them or back them up. And so writing becomes difficult. If those are the things expected of me when I write then I do have to put some thought in.
Thought is what has killed my writing. I can’t think. Or, more accurately, lately I haven’t been able to settle on one thought or another. They all jumble together and inform each other and become mixed up. One second I’m saying that The Muppets is one of the best movies of the year because all it is is fun; the next second I’m complaining that all The Artist is is fun. And when I try to break down my thoughts on the issue I just get a headache. When I get into a conversation about it I end up shouting and making bold statements that hold no water.
I got into a long conversation recently about the nature of ambiguity in films. I had so much to day, and some of those things were quite insightful in my opinion. Since some of the conversation happened in chat form, I can provide you with a few examples of those moments of insight, like this bit:
We can sit here and have a conversation about the potential themes in Shame, but everything becomes purely speculative rather than definitive. And I don’t mean subjective vs. objective. I mean that we discuss themes are nebulously connected to what may be motivating factors for the characters even though we never really learn anything about them. So we are speculating rather than interpreting based on definitive views of what these characters brought to the table. There’s so much meat when you start discussing, but it’s imaginary meat. like a starving family looking at a plate with a bone on it and imagining the fully cooked rack of lamb that might have been there.
Or check this out:
Ambiguity is a poor scapegoat for a movie not having anything meaningful to say.
Or how about this:
[By using ambiguity poorly, these films] shortchange the chance for making statements or exploring ideas with any real depth of thought.
I had strong thoughts to turn these statements, and the conversation as a whole, into an awesome blog post. Then I started writing. It all died. I wrote 1,000 words, was not even halfway done and I hadn’t said a single thing worth saying. Those “insightful” lines above came in the context of a conversation, but to transfer them to a more concrete bit of writing, a bit of writing I can stand behind in a more meaningful way, that’s difficult. In fact, I found it impossible and so I stopped.
That’s probably a good breakdown of my writing process over the last three weeks. I have crazy opinions that I think would be cool to share. I sit down to write. I get out some words. I realize that my thoughts were only half-formed to begin with and my writing is even worse. I stop.
And then I settle on the truth of it all. I have too much to say, but in the end nothing. Nothing I have to say is worthwhile. It’s not writer’s block that’s stopping me. I’m not blocked from writing. I could write if I want to. The writing wouldn’t be any good, though. Incomplete ideas and bold statements with nothing to support them.
I might have just become a bit too picky as of late. In fact, I know that I have. Maybe my pickiness has robbed this blog of three weeks of posts, but I’ll be frank and say that you, the reader, have not been robbed of anything. Well, except maybe of the time it took you to read this post. Had I posted everything I was thinking of posting, it would have been a waste of my time and yours. What it comes down to is I had nothing worth writing about. And if I’m being honest, I don’t know when the next time will be that I find something worth writing about. Maybe it’ll be tomorrow. Maybe it’ll be in a month. I hope it’s the former, but either way you’ll all have to (not) bear with me in the meantime.