Saturday, October 30, 2004

Discourse on writer's block

There's been a pause, a hiatus, a time-out. I've been regularly not posting to my blog if that makes sense.

Let me make it make sense.

Let me say this, that not a day has gone by when I haven't come here and inspected my blog, checked it's still running, examined the stats in my profile, perhaps looked through the posts to see if, oh, dream of dreams, someone has made a comment (because I love the comments as much as writing the posts, maybe more).

So yes, I've not been away from my blog, and it has occupied a tender place in my thoughts, but for some reason I just haven't been able to compile a new post. Now why is this? Could it be, and step back children, for surely, The Ego has Landed, as I post this piece of wildly theatrical speculation, could it be, really, could it, be that this particular blogger has come down with a case of Writer's Block? (No laughing at the back).

Writer's Block! Let me say it again, Writer's Block... ah, delicious, the one sure way you know you're a writer, when you just can't write a word to save your life, when previously, all that was required was an invigorating puff on your favoured brand of cheroot, a sip of vintage Georgian brandy, and away one went, pouring forth a torrent of verbiage that would sate the literary appetites of a voracious and poorly washed public for months, perhaps years at a time, until the next storm of literary genius broke over one's intensely furrowed brow...

Oh heavens, they're kicking us out, this must wait! Goodnight, fine friends...

It's now morning, and the barbarians have once again lowered the drawbridge to the Internet Cafe, so one has ambled in off the sidewalk, clad in a simple silk dressing gown and trailed only by a couple of retainers, who bear my writing desk, laptop, and a stock of cushions upon their sturdy peasant backs. I was about to recount the story of Franklin Soames, who contracted what is largely recognised as the most protracted instance of Writer's Block in the historical record (I shall speak only for Christendom).

Franklin Soames! Now there's a name to conjure with (although one would find it easier perhaps with his half-brother Charles A-Deck-of-cards-and-a-Baize-Table). In 1846, Franklin Soames, newly graduated of Corpus Christi, Cambridge, had undertaken his first commission as a professional poet, the assemblage of a single stanza announcing a forthcoming society wedding. But alas, alack, when Franklin sat down to write, but a single word came forth...


The commission was cancelled, amid some contractual wrangling, and Franklin, suitably vexed, returned to his literary endeavours. Yet, terribly, over the course of the next 70 years, that single exclamation of the definite article was all poor Franklin managed to produce (besides applying his forlorn signature to restaurant tabs, bills of payment, etc)

So my own case of Writer's Block, even should it prove terminal, should not in itself earn me a place in the annals of history. And for that, one is truly grateful, as after all, as Dr Johnson once remarked when looking up from his literary labours,

"It's all well and good writing this down, Boswell, but, truly, who reads this guff?"


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