Living · Writing

Resolutions 2019: A Writer’s Blocks

I couldn’t think of what to write about this week.

This is a case for steady writing. It works. I took two weeks off because two Mondays in a row were Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and I felt justified, but then I took a third week off just because. I’ll say I was planning on migrating my blog, and that’s true, but it’s also true I was just letting myself slip out of the groove.

I did move the blog. It feels like a good time—New Year’s and all. A time of changes, new directions, new endeavors. But I didn’t write. I just did detail work like going through all my old blog links and making sure they connected here. And now it’s been three weeks… and a day, since I’m moving also from Mondays to Tuesdays. And I have nothing to say.

I do have a wonderful family, who are trying to help me, though. Rob saw my box of Santa figurines waiting to be moved to the garage when the rain stops, and suggested I write about why we have such stupid Santas. (He misread “Int’l Santas” as Int 7 Santas, which in the Dungeons and Dragons world means your Santas have a score of 7 out of 20 in Intelligence). 

My daughter offered up the weirdness of language as a topic, still proud of catching her dad in a raucous pun trap last night. We’ve been taking advantage of the rainy weather to make chili, and while she crushed up saltines in hers, she asked if it weren’t cannibalism. “Not unless you’re a salty cracker,” her dad retorted, then he hung his head and groaned.

But the weirdness of language demands volumes, as does the clever pun-potential of my kooky family. So maybe I just need to tackle the problem head on and generate some topics. I often write about something that happened during the week on my blog, so what has happened of note?

We started a new year, and that always makes me want to make resolutions. Nietzsche regarded resolutions as a criterion for differentiating humans from animals. The idea that we could make a promise to do or be something in the future, make plans and stick to them or not, projecting an abstract view of ourselves in the new, resolved guise, was fundamentally human for him. I know it’s two weeks late, but it’s still January, so I’ll make some resolutions.

I will write more. Blogs, yes, but also fiction and also an article on Beowulf that I should have written years ago. If I boast that we wield words (and I do in my bio, which I reread for the first time in two years—oy), then I’d better do some darned wielding or welding or wending or something.

I will read more. I’m starting to feel like I don’t read as much for pleasure as I used to, and given my newish obsession with non-fiction, particularly non-fiction about reading, I feel like I need to sit and roll around in a novel, but I haven’t really, not even over the longest winter break I’ve had in sixteen years. So yeah—read more.

I will shake up my teaching. I’ve started on that, so will keep moving forward. Semesters are a different pace from quarters, and require some new approaches, so I’m thinking up new assignments, new ways to break up class periods, and new ways to get people involved and engaged.

I think I’ll keep a grateful log. The current state of American politics and policy has me regularly grim-faced, so I will remind myself that as I work to improve things, I should notice many things are still right as rain.

In fact, that reflective impulse is where I’ll stop tonight.  I always think of Janus at the new year, the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, passages, and transformations. He’s two-faced, with one face looking forward, but one also looking backward, reflecting, seeing where we came from and where we’re going at the same time. That seems admirable to me. Not that I want two sets of eyes, but that I  aim not to lose sight of what I’ve learned as I move forward. What I’ve learned tonight is that a steady writing habit makes it easier to write.  I knew this. But I just re-learned it. C’est la vie.

Good luck out there. And may you live up to some of your resolutions, forgive yourself for the ones that slip, and always roll higher than a 7 for intelligence.

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