What I did on my Summer Vacation

There was an old bit performed by Cheech and Chong on one of their first albums.  Tommy Chong, as a student, has to stand up in class and read his essay titled, “What I did on my Summer Vacation.”  Clearing his throat he begins by reading the title in a monotone voice.  Moving on he continues with . . . “I got up.”

Of course the delivery is perfect and the bit is very funny.  Attempting to write a serious piece and have it sound like, “I got up,” is another matter.  Not close to funny, some days at the computer keyboard would better be spent beating my head against a brick wall.  There is no inspiration, the words are simply not available on the shelves in my brain.  Creating a narrative becomes an effort to squeeze blood out of a turnip.  

When caught in that frustrating frame of mind, I usually still try to soldier on, dragging something from my fingers.  It is either guilt or masochism that keeps me at my lap top.  I cannot verify that that type of fruitless diligence actually helps my writing.

But I do have a couple of strategies that help me out of a writing funk. First, I read the tract to someone else, (a patient someone else).  My son, David, has been a fortuitous find because he is an active listener and is brutally honest with his critiques.  His participation has been generous and has helped so much.  Another trick is just talking to someone else who is involved in the creative process.  A childhood friend of mine is a painter.  We have shared conversations about seeking truth in our respective projects.  She has been a wonderful sounding board, and says the conversations help her too.

So in the end, I can beat a dead horse, or wait for it to come back alive.  But the best option for me is to use a couple lifelines of selected family and friends. 


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