Friday, March 18, 2011

When The Muse Fails--A Friday Journal

It happens to all writers...the desire to say something, to write something meaningful...and nothing comes.

I'm sitting in a coffee shop in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, with all kinds of topics lined up, but lack the creative spark to do them justice... 

Chalk it up to Friday night, and the desire to hibernate after a troubling week....

I have to remind myself that sometimes it's all right to say nothing... That being quiet doesn't mean that my writer's light has burned out for good....

It's hard to accept that the blogosphere will not collapse if I can't contribute to it for a night, or two...

I can also blame the failure of my muse on the need to relax the mind.  Finding a compelling topic each day, one that is interesting enough to research and to do justice in the writing, and one that others find worth reading, requires a lot of mental energy.

I want to write about the abominable behavior of our congressional "leaders"; the "controversy" over taxpayer funding of NPR, as unscrupulous muckrakers are lauded as heroes, while other whistle-blowers (with important public information) are mistreated in prison or brought up on ridiculous charges; the ongoing abuse of the environment and its living creatures; the endless pontificating about our educational system while children fail; an ignorant culture that idolizes a pathetic sitcom actor, while thousands around the world face homelessness, nuclear disease, military annihilation, and political terror...and on and on. 

But, apart from my desire to be profound, nothing comes. 

I want to immerse myself in the arts for solace, to remind myself that there is another culture that reveres beauty and aesthetic pleasure.  I long to make an original statement about a work of art, or the perfect interpretation of a film or book, or piece of music, or painting....Or to just have fun as I find creative ways to discuss the movies I love, the musicians that inspire me, and all the rest...

But tonight seems too ordinary, or too shadowed by the frustrations of an absurd world.

When the mind and heart are overloaded, sometimes the best response is repose....  Leave the heavy lifting for the next day, after the batteries are recharged.

Reinvention is a journey, a road trip, that  requires occasional rest stops. 

This weekend: I'll be back to highlight the new Windy City Performing Arts concert; a nod to movies for St. Joseph's day; and maybe a word or two about the absurdity rampant in the news.

Thank you for reading about my inability to come up with anything to say.  


  1. Just sent you an e-mail. Hopefully that will give you some inspiration.


  2. Wow, Tom! No one writes about not writing better than you do! I echo your sentiments exactly. Excellent piece of thoughtful reflection. Kudos, my friend!

  3. Ben, thank you for the Isherwood link. It helped get my juices flowing.
    Tom, I am speechless again (ha!), thank you for checking in.

  4. I think Tom's right. There's nothing ordinary about your writing. Your prose are their best when you just "let er rip" (like this) and set your sail. Steuermann Las Die Wacht!