Blogger’s block—like writer’s block without the martini.
The creative process can be an elusive nymph, and this time she’s decided to take a holiday from the oppressive Indian summer. She packed her creative juices into tightly sealed containers, unplugged the toaster, and disappeared in the middle of the night without a word of warning.
It feels like a country song. The idea whore drained the creative bank account, stole the better of the two trucks, and disappeared with my dog, Inspiration. I want to move past the break-up, hunt her down, and retrieve that dog, thereby restoring the metaphorical wagging tail and face full of inspiring doggy kisses. She can keep the truck and the money—I want Inspiration.
How big is the block? Yesterday, as we took our daily, 30-minute walk around the community, a six inch long section of entrails dropped from a tree a few feet from my wife. It hit the ground with an audible, “splat!” We looked up to a leaf-filled but otherwise vacant sea of branches. I thought, “That’s curious,” and added a reminder to write about it. By the time we got home I realized that entrails falling from the sky isn’t actually that funny. If they had only landed on a windshield.
There are simply no good blog ideas. It seems difficult to believe given where we live—planet earth. People say and do stupid, prose-worthy stuff nearly every day.
In Hong Kong we wait patiently in the front of the Business Class line for our return flight to India while a hundred other people form the Economy Class line. A rotund, suit-clad Indian waddles past 20 or so people to the front of the Business Class queue, thrusting his ticket toward the ground crew member. “I’m in Business Class,” he says, implying his right to be at the front.
The crew member responds, “We aren’t boarding, yet, sir. This is the queue for Business Class and you need to wait at the end of it.”
The entitled Indian gentlemen, obviously part of an upper caste and used to being treated better than others, grunts, his ticket waving gently midway between him and the crew member. He glances toward the back of the line, incredulous. I shoot him a sly head bobble as he walks away.
That could be funny stuff. In fact, we wrote an entire blog post about it a few weeks ago—Flying to India: Boarding. I recorded the event in my notes for use later. But after arriving home it seemed boring. It’s already been done.
There are dozens of ideas, but they seem stale. There are poopers, pigs, confrontations, traffic jams, crazy signs, breakout Tollywood movie roles, and even a car perched precariously upside down at the bottom of a 25 foot embankment a few feet from the road. I could spin these otherwise mundane events into a sarcastically hedonistic rant with a take no prisoners policy. But to what end? Who really cares that entrails fall from the sky, Indian’s can’t figure out how to queue, and someone drove over a sidewalk? That stuff happens every day in India.
My wife has a countdown timer on her mobile phone set for our next US trip departure date—she revels in sending random screenshots showing the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds left. Usually these trips are work trips, leaving little time for personal travel, but this time we are spending a week in Germany on our way to the US. The goal: hike, bike, drink, eat, and relax in parks surrounded by green grass, tall trees, rushing water, and the smell of pork knuckle. We’re looking forward to the trip, but I’m hoping for something more—inspiration.
My laptop is plugged into an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in an “office” on the first floor of our villa—which is the second floor to us Americans. Several times a day the power goes out and the UPS kicks in, which sends a small current though the laptop causing a slight shock if my bare feet are touching the floor. It’s the most exciting thing to happen most days. Perhaps it will one day shock some ideas into being.
Has life in India become commonplace? Are the sights, sounds, and smells so reiterative that they no longer seem worth writing about? Or is it something more personal? Am I depressed? Bored? In a rut? Definitely not depressed.
The movie Grosse Pointe Blank follows Martin Blank, a burned-out, professional hitman played by the incredibly funny and talented John Cusack to his ten year class reunion where he reignites a relationship with high school flame Debi—played by the equally talented and underrated Minnie Driver. Debi prescribes shakabuku for Martin, “the swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.” I want to attend a high school reunion about as much as I want to attend my own funeral, but maybe there is something to this head-kicking stuff.
Google “shakabuku.” After attempting to correct for what it believes is a mis-spelling, Google returns 11,300 results. There are numerous references to the movie, links to Buddhism, a webpage for a company in California with an uncomfortable array of Kama Sutra oils for sale, and even a site—shakabuku.com—where a singer is hawking music that will transport listeners to “the land of surf, sun, mountain tops, and musical adventure.” There is nothing about inspiration, but I consider buying the CD.
There is an article on Lifehacker.com from 2014 that provides a quick means of altering one’s reality without physical or spiritual violence. In Recalibrate Your Reality, Thorin Klosowski describes research from Northwestern University which suggests you can alter your reality by wearing different clothes—the actual article lists quite a few other methods, but they seem like a lot of work.
Most days I wear shorts or swimming trunks, no shoes, and a t-shirt—minimalist means comfortable in India. In the real world, when I worked a full-time, strictly regimented, oppressive schedule for ‘the man,’ I wore suits, or at least slacks and a very nice button down shirt. I don’t recall having bloggers block back then—to be fair, I also don’t recall being inspired. I did bring a suit to India.
I don the suit, socks, shoes, and white shirt in the hopes of altering my reality. It’s hot and there’s a lot of sweat involved. In fact, it’s far too hot to write. After two hours, my reality is the same—uncalibrated. I peel the shirt from my back, hang up the jacket and pants, slip into a clean pair of board shorts, and open a beer. Changing my clothes did not help with bloggers block, but it did give me a heat rash.
Let’s hope someone returns the dog. I need Inspiration.
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Unless otherwise noted, I drew or took the photographs in the article—as lame as they may look. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is probably planned. Copyright can be found here for my original work.