The Wall

Ever do distance running?

The race begins and after a brief interlude of finding your pace, you enter your zone where your legs and arms are moving with orchestrated pace and you are where you want to be and where you expected to be. Interior dialogue begins to help focus. Time and distance pass and you feel good, even great as your body feels its power and responds.

And then, without warning, here is the wall.

The wall is many impressions at once. It feels like you’re running in sludge. Where your feet were lifting and dropping with relative ease and precision, you suddenly feel wobbly and your feet are heavy. Your legs feel heavy. An undertow has sucked all your energy out to sea. You just want to completely stop, sag and breath.

But you know that this will pass if you can keep your arms and legs moving. That’s why you’ve trained, to learn how to keep your arms and legs moving, how to properly breath, how to find the oxygen in your lungs and get it to your heart, into your blood and to your muscles. You’ve trained to know what to do when it happens and take the pieces of broken focus and put them back together so you can keep going.

Well, I’ve hit the writing wall this morning. My body is sagging despite my stretching and yawning, and my mind is screaming, “I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna.” It’s cold, gray and wet outside. My eyes are tired. My morning coffee is cold and it doesn’t taste good. It’s Sunday, come on, aren’t you supposed to take Sunday off to sit and chill? You deserve a day off from dealing with the Penta Majur.

And I know some of this wall comes from unique places within. Emotional demands have eaten into the writing reserves. I’ve learned that a friend and family member by marriage had open-heart surgery a few weeks ago without telling anyone. Only his wife knew. And you wonder, why wouldn’t they tell anyone this? He didn’t have insurance and her insurance is a miserable and greedy company which is barely covering any of the bill. She’s well employed and a hard worker, with an impressive job title and salary, but this has drained their finances.

I know some of this wall is holiday related as I pause to consider what was and what now isn’t. I understand my nostalgic nature even if I can’t control it.

And I know some of this wall comes from dealing with news and protests and murders and deaths and hatred and racism and bigotry and –

And there is the wall.

My dreams reflected this last night, too, putting me through the paces of trying to sell a car, a sports car which I owned for twenty years but traded in for a new SUV, a car that reflected some of the pleasure I felt with what I’d achieved, where I was and where I was going, a car that then became a reminder of where I’d been and what I’d achieved and that I was no longer going anywhere, car that reminded me that time had passed. And yet a car that I missed because I’d enjoyed considerable pleasure driving that car on trips, and it was associated with the validation found in work and promotions.

I saw all that in the dream as the dream masters chastised me for not following proper procedures while selling my car, ordering me back into line, and confusing me with demands that I need to write my requirements in white on black socks, which totally befuddled me because that makes no sense. And then, there is the waking reflections on what makes sense and does not, with gentle chiding amusement over the expectations that everything is to make sense. That’s the interesting thing about writing: that you must always make sense in a world that doesn’t make sense.

The writer within is demonstrating remarkable patience. He wants to write but he’s telling me, you’re just a little tired. It’s understandable, that’s okay. Take some time to sit in quiet, relax, drink some more coffee, read, surf the net, look out the window, watch the trees, the birds, the clouds and rain, and the passing pedestrians. Observe life. Let your energy build.

The wall is there but you’ll break through. Be patient and persevere.

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