Concentrate, she told herself. Sitting at her laptop, her fingers poised yet nothing at all came to mind. She hadn’t written in weeks, was now experiencing for the first time, writer’s block. She’d always been able to write at will. She loved to write. What was going on with her? She’d tried everything; writing at different times, giving herself mock assignments, even planning rewards if she typed at least a few sentences. But nothing was working. She’d type those few sentences, but then read them, realize they amounted to nothing worthwhile, and delete them.
And the writer’s block was leading to another type of block. An emotional block. She realized that even when not at her computer, she’d find herself, staring off into space, unable to gain the energy toward anything productive. She was definitely in a rut. And she didn’t know how to get out of it.
At least, she was still trying despite the fact that by this point she felt like completely giving up, throwing her laptop away, actually, for all the frustration it was now producing. That was the only thing it was producing. This inability to release what was inside her, unidentifiable at this point, had her in a zombie state. Life was going on without her participation, her experiencing of it. In the past, she had possessed a fine ability to keenly observe the people and things around her, consistently taking mental notes of interesting or funny things she saw or heard to use later in her writing. Poetically she could describe the mundane. Even stuck in traffic she could be inspired by metaphoric thoughts.
And then one day, it was just gone. She had nothing. She didn’t realize it at first, continued on with her normal routine, but then suddenly felt that lack. Realized, that nothing was standing out to her anymore, nothing mattered. Now every time she sat down to write, she’d inevitably only write about the inability to write, about the dreaded writer’s block.
Like she’d done yesterday and the day before, she finally closed her laptop in frustration. She left her desk and went instead to the couch, where she laid down. She closed her eyes, thinking about how writing was always what had gotten her by. She’d started in junior high, recording in a journal the details of her life, and from there, the writing had taken on a life of her own. She’d begun to create stories, almost as therapy, the words weaving a comfort as she read and reread them. And she’d become skilled, written papers in college that had been praised, so then gained confidence to enter contests, which she often won. It was her life. What kept her going. Yes, she had a job, friends, a social life, but none of it had mattered to her as much as her writing. What would she do without it? It seemed she couldn’t feel without it, or maybe couldn’t process her feelings.
Ashley sat up then, working out exactly what it was she just had realized. Her brow furrowed as this new thought hit her. She wasn’t in an emotional block because of the writer’s block. It was the other way around. She couldn’t write because she wasn’t feeling. She’d shut down; pent it up. This epiphany, so simple, forced her to her feet. She walked back to her desk, very slowly and deliberately opened up her laptop again. She needed to write about what had happened. The thing she hadn’t been facing, dealing with. The thing, she’d been pushing out of her mind for so long, she’d come to believe it might one day go away. And maybe it almost had, these last weeks but so had everything else, including her writing. She had to get rid of it, even if that meant putting it on paper, seeing it in print, giving truth to it and making it real. She hadn’t even known she’d been afraid to do that, but now saw that it had been exactly that. Fear. So now, she put her head down, preparing. But not thinking. In fact, not concentrating. Not thinking ahead just mentally encouraging herself to go ahead and look up, begin the process. And when she did, it began to flow. She let go of concentration, of trying to make sense out of sentences, of analyzing her topic, she just gave it up to the paper, her fingers gaining speed, to catch up with her now opened mind. She didn’t let herself stop because she knew there would be the temptation to go back and read what she’d written, and she wasn’t ready to do that yet. So she just wrote and wrote, everything that came to mind, no matter how horrible or scary the thought was. She’d kept it in too long, and when it had threatened to rise up, in order to tune it out, she’d tuned out everything else. So now out it came. The evening turned to night and she stopped only to flick her lamp on, but then returned her hands to the keyboard.
Finally, spent, near the middle of the night, she’d written it all. She’d come to closure. Done now, she wiped her eyes. She hadn’t even been aware of the tears as she’d been writing.
She still did not read it. But she printed it. The fifteen single spaced pages spewed out of the printer, somewhat ominous. She picked them up, in order, but face down. She didn’t want to read it. She knew what she had written. Not knowing yet what she would do with this document, she placed it under her laptop and got ready for bed. Already, she felt lighter, new again. She slept peacefully, not afraid of her own thoughts this night. And when she woke in the morning she knew what she was to do. She retrieved the document from underneath her laptop and still not looking at the words folded it in two. She then walked to her hall closet where she kept her envelopes. She carefully placed her writing inside one and then sealed it. She walked back to her desk, pulled from the drawer a black permanent marker and wrote three letters on the envelope.
It would go to who it belonged to; God. And she would never read it. She would delete it, because now it was His. She’d been released. So now she could concentrate on moving forward.