Hey Muse! Where Are You?

Writing, expressing, speaking out, are my salvation. My way home.

Muses on vacationSometimes, though, the muse takes a break. She must need it, with all that I demand–no…beg–of her. I find myself without words, without ideas, without my lifeblood.

What to do? How to break the silence? Where to find inspiration?

Community. That’s where. Social networking. Groups of writers. People in similar circumstances; their muses gone on vacation, temporarily abandoning them. (I hate the term “writer’s block,” and don’t much use it. It connotes a concreteness that doesn’t belong with the ethereal, ephemeral nature of writing, at least for me.)

No Inspiration

In this case, I turned to a group I recently joined on LinkedIn: Freeing the Writer Within. I highly recommend it; the group leader posts a writing prompt almost every day.  Tonight, clicking on it, I found the prompt “I’m so tired of…”

Here’s the thing about writing prompts. You need to be disciplined when you do them. The goal is to write for 10 to 15 minutes WITHOUT STOPPING. Get it?  No stopping. No editing as you go. No critique. No criticizing. No censoring. No pondering. Just trust yourself and write. You don’t know what you’ll find, but even if it’s nothing profound, it gets the creative juices going again. Tonight, that was what I needed.

For anyone curious, here’s what I wrote:

I’m so tired of depression. Of the lassitude, the lethargy, the loneliness. I’m so tired of the enervation, of the lack of energy, of the seeming end of joy. I’m so tired of facing the abyss, over and over and over again. I’m so tired of the fear of facing the abyss, over and over and over again. I’m so tired of wondering not if, but when, it will come. When the flooding, the overwhelm, the vulnerability, the self-hate, will arrive, unannounced, unwelcome, unwanted.

I want to keep the joy alive.  I want to keep my sense of well-being. I want to feel like a competent parent, a competent person, a competent partner. I want to stave off the inevitable lows. Lows?  How utterly inadequate a word. I want to stave off the death without dying. I want to stay present in today, not mired in the past.  I want to forget about my father, and remember my daughter. I want to kick the devil out, and invite God in. I want to remain here, writing, laughing, loving.

I want to be able to remember today when the depressive tomorrow comes. Today, when my daughter made me laugh so hard I cried. Today, when my mother and I shared a special smile that nobody else understood–just us. Today, when my sister came to visit from out of town, and we hugged so hard we could barely breathe.  I want to remember all of today. All the positive energy coursing through my body. And know that the depression won’t be forever. That depression brings with it a child’s view of time. Not the nuanced view of the adult. Not the tempered view of the healthy.

I’m so tired of depression.

I have some ideas for ways to follow up on this exercise. I may or may not get to them. But it doesn’t matter. My fingers are flying again. As is my soul. It’s a heady feeling.

About armsakimbobook

I'm a mother, a lawyer, a feminist, a writer, a potter, and an inveterate and unapologetic New Yorker. My book, Arms Akimbo: A Journey of Healing, tells of my journey of healing over a number of years, learning to live a full life after I was molested by my father at a very young age. I live in Maynard, MA, with my wife and and our two moose-cats, Samson and Hercules. My daughter used to live with me part-time, but she's all grown up now and in her junior year of college, which I can't quite fathom, since she was born about five minutes ago...
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