What I do when I can’t write. Here’s a little piece of junk essay about how it feels to not get started:
I don’t want to write a story about lonely people sitting in rooms doing menial jobs. And I don’t want to write about magic. And I don’t want to write about disaffected youth (okay maybe that’s a lie).
And I don’t want to write about Paris now, because the snob in me feels like it would be typical and douchey. But I would’ve wanted to write about it when I was seventeen. And I did. Wrote a bunch of bad poems and maybe one half decent one. Is it the wrong instinct – to Douche Police censor myself? So what if you’re in your mid-twenties and want to write about Paris? Am I going to mock you? Should you write about Omaha or Knoxville, Tennessee instead? This is not supposed to be a travel essay on Paris, but what is it supposed to be? Why don’t I want to look at my photo albums and reminisce over the old pictures and remember what it was like to take pictures with a film camera. 26 pictures and then pop the door open and load a new little spool. Do I miss that? Will the world continue existing for the people who want to shoot on film? The grandmothers (like mine) with their disposables and the art students with their vintage SLRs and big lenses?
Okay so maybe I’ll take a trip to Omaha and write about some white picket fences instead. Too bad David Foster Wallace did it first and did it better, right after 9/11 no less. And they say that Flannery O’Connor never strayed too far from her hometown. She still wrote, some would say brilliantly, but I wouldn’t. What about Paris is not capturing my imagination? I like remembering the riots there, the sixteen or so nights filled with burning cars in the Parisian suburbs. Race and immigration tensions and troubles, that line of thinking I can follow until the cows come home. But romance? Travelogue? Architecture, even? Not following. Not sweeping enough in my head. Boredom creeps in, which is crazy, but also true. Maybe I don’t need it to be exciting. I would say something equally douchey and say ‘I just need it to be real’ but that wouldn’t get me anywhere either. Plus, it would also be a lie.
A lot of people can disappear into it and disappear well.
Now that’s a line to start with: