Diary Dilemma: Can’t write

I can’t write. Had a lot free time today. I wandered the house. I swept. I cleaned the toilets. I cooked a meal. But I couldn’t pick up the computer and write, though I did spend a lot of time on it…not writing. I picked it up to use iMessage, and look at Facebook, and look for rentals back in the states, reading reviews of used cars. Yesterday I was on the computer signing up on the Marketplace for health insurance for the family, and buying plane tickets.

But when you’re waiting, waiting, waiting for your loved one to come home from the hospital, I think creativity shuts down. And even though my husband is home now, I find myself vigilant, watching him for signs of too much fatigue (he sometimes doesn’t listen when I tell him to sit down and let me make the tea), worrying if he’ll be able to fly home in two weeks. When I’m not watching him, I’m watching my boys. Worrying about whether they’re burying their emotions, worrying how they are managing to cope.

It makes me wonder how amazing, tortured artists managed to remain creative when they were gripped by mental illness or sorrow or fear. What happens to your creativity in the face of emotional turmoil?

4 thoughts on “Diary Dilemma: Can’t write

  1. You ask very good questions. It’s understandable that creative people might feel constrained by the troubling circumstances surrounding them. It’s heart-breaking to read about musicians, writers, actors, and other artistic people taking drugs or drinking alcohol to dull the pain in their lives so they can function. On the other hand, none of us would want to live in secluded isolation so as not to risk getting upset by problems faced by our loved ones. As you say, it’s a dilemma. A dilemma of great proportions.


  2. Mara,
    Your subconscious is trying to cook everything that is happening to you. Housework moves energy around your home that coheres it together in a creative pattern that allows everyone who lives there a safe and stable place amidst inner shared chaos, fear, and grief that is being kept under the surface. This is worthy work, too.

    If you are compelled to create, try drawing or writing poetry (or diary entries), forms that are short and imagistic that allow you to express your inner world.

    When it is time to write long form again, your Muse will let you know. This is the art of slow writing…

    Be here now in this place. Chop wood. Carry water…


  3. Your words touched me deeply, and not just because I love you and am worried too. The same passage in an essay, short story or book would have evoked the same emotions, even if not as strongly. Some of the most effective writing is expressing pain that most people recognize and having experienced something similar.


  4. I believe you just wrote, maybe not what you intended, but you wrote in the face of sorrow and fear. Writing in the midst of what life gives us (or throws), maybe it gives us those images and works that touch us, the reader or viewer, most.


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