Your Poetics Serendipity @ Thursday Thoughts on Malaise

14 Mar

8:30 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to the album Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat

Well, hullo. How are we? Do I hear a collective moaning? What is it about these last few weeks? I’ve known many of you for a year or two, but have never seen such a widely spread grey cloud as appears to be hovering over us. We all have moments, but this is a long moment, singled out by several of us having the moment at the same time.

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar: You look at your notebook and wonder if perhaps you can find something else to dust; you sit at your computer, ready to write and decide to quickly, briefly, check Facebook or, as I just have, your bookmarks to see what’s there — an hour later… ; a general feeling of discomfort, or uneasiness, whose exact cause is difficult to identify, possesses you; you spend far too long staring at your notebook, or computer, and nothing is going through your brain, nothing; when you see yourself in a mirror, your eyes stare back, dully; your response to every prompt you see, and any question someone asks you, as to what you would like to do, is: Enh…

Thus today’s focus. So read, agree, disagree, say ‘That’s it!,’ nod, shake your head, say ‘Enh’ and maybe, laugh.

1] I enjoyed reading ‘How to be Creative When Your Brain Doesn’t Want to Play‘ — love the title. I’ve read many similar articles. After all, there may be something I haven’t considered. I like Gary Korisko’s style and his assumption that we are at [y]our computer with [y]our favorite beverage half an arm’s length away. As with many of the articles on Write to Done, the piece is not about writers of poetry, but creativity, without which, admit it, we aren’t writers of anything.

2] Writer Amanda Patterson has collected some of her favourite lines from writers, on lack of ideas. My three favourites — in case you don’t have time to visit the site:

You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block. ~John Rogers

I haven’t had trouble with writer’s block. I think it’s because my process involves writing very badly. My first drafts are filled with lurching, clichéd writing, outright flailing around. Writing that doesn’t have a good voice or any voice. But then there will be good moments. It seems writer’s block is often a dislike of writing badly and waiting for writing better to happen. ~Jennifer Egan

Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch. ~Lili St. Crow

3] Our next visit is to a serendipitous find, a writer who read Amanda Patterson’s post and who takes issue with some of the writers’ statements that writer’s block may be imaginary. Daniel Koeker warns the post may get long, but if you are used to my posts, it isn’t. Then, if you want to wallow in the topic, the post has 158 comments.

4] Now for my ta da! find. This next site will either kick your creativity into gear, hold your hand through baby steps, or allow you to be absorbed for hours, forgetting why you came in the first place. The site is called Language is a Virus and has been put together by someone who knows about malaise and decided to get everything that will help in one place. As I wandered through, I hesitated about giving this to you. I mean, what a trove for me as a creative writing blogger. Then, I decided I’m bigger than that [and you will all forget the site even if you bookmark it].

Now, grab yourself a cup of whichever, curl up with your favourite whatever, relax and stop worrying. If the grey cloud doesn’t go away, we can have a get-together next year. We each run one something. Laughter guaranteed. After all, I’ve known you for a year or two.

I’ll see you tomorrow for Friday’s Poetry Freeforall; next Tuesday for a prompt from another source; and next Thursday for a focus on National Poetry Month. If anyone has something they would like mentioned about that, or a link they think others will enjoy, ship to me at margoroby[at]

Happy writing, all. Really. We can do this.


Posted by on 14/03/2013 in poetry, writing


Tags: , ,

8 responses to “Your Poetics Serendipity @ Thursday Thoughts on Malaise

  1. barbara_y

    14/03/2013 at 10:23 am

    I’d forgotten Language is a Virus. It’s in my bookmarks (but I never look at things I bookmark) right next to Seventh Sanctum and all its quirky random generators. Thanks for the reminder.

    Don’t know about others, but I’m really dependent on external input–not a self-starter. I want someone to hand me a project (a big, clunky project) and say: here, do this. If I tell myself to do something, I just feel silly.

    • margo roby

      14/03/2013 at 12:17 pm

      I’m the opposite, Barbara, unless, like now, my brain refuses to cooperate. The found poetry challenge has been a blessing.

  2. Edith

    14/03/2013 at 10:34 am

    Absolutely loved your offerings today! Language is a virus is brilliant, and new to me. Thanks! 🙂

  3. Joseph Harker

    14/03/2013 at 1:05 pm

    I think it’s a combination of things, from which one can select what applies best: the world didn’t end (so now what do we do with ourselves?), the winter (here, at least) is back to its standard length and depth after so many warm ones (temperature dropped below freezing again last night, ugh), Mercury (and maybe some other planet? Jupiter?) is/was in retrograde, etc. Everything just seems all wrong. I don’t even think it’s a matter of writer’s block, it’s a lack of energy and finding of beauty in the world. The readiness to write and the verbal dexterity are there, but nothing seems to be worth the trouble lately. 😛

    My hope is that an eventual spring, NaPoWriMo, and some coordinated poking at each other will collectively jolt us out of the doldrums, once and for all. (Send stuff to the Refinery!) Maybe we should have some kind of pledge drive? A blog-telethon?

    • margo roby

      14/03/2013 at 1:14 pm

      I do agree with you, Joseph. I think that’s why malaise works well as a description.

      We can set poke levels. Some people might only be able to handle a level 4 poke where others will require a level 10! I like your idea of a pledge drive. I’m part of one, at the moment, in the sense I will have to post a poem every day of April and I cant welch because this thing is getting press! But there must be ways we can stage our own something.

      Looking forward to everyone’s spring self, especially you in your coffee place. You become quite lyrical when the weather is lovely and you have coffee 🙂

  4. Pamela

    15/03/2013 at 4:24 am

    Interesting conversations. Hi, Margo, here is a piece I wrote to your “A Sense of the Land” prompt. I do mention land in it and yes, it is a bit off beat, but that is acceptable, right? Joseph, I am still thinking about “The Refinery”, but, I am too scared.


  5. Pamela

    15/03/2013 at 4:27 am

    Oh, yeah here’s the link

    In Her Silken Underwear


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