Day 37 of 100, Nordjylland, Danmark
Yesterday’s post ended with “it’s the happening that makes all the difference.”
I went through a long period after my father died three years ago, not being able to write. Not blog posts, not essays, barely in my journal, and not in an everyday capacity either. I never had trouble finding the words before Dad died. They may not have been the most elegant, appropriate words on the planet, but they were always there. Being silenced by my own brain feels like a pointless betrayal. Completely mundane emails were torture, 5 word messages via various messaging apps were murder. I was plagued by a deep paranoia about how my words would be read. It’s not something I’m entirely free of now either, but I think this is a reasonable level of doubt for someone who publishes online, a space where it is too easy to judge words out of their intended context, whether or not we love or hate, are for or against what is being said.
It got too hard to write for a good year or so, and I let “too hard” become “I need to give myself a break” to “I can’t face it.” Then I was out of practice, which flowed from cathartic writing to the communicative type that is necessary to so much of my work.
For so long, I’ve watched Flemming switch effortlessly between writing code, blog posts, messages, email and instructional missives (often with all of them going at the same time), with a kind of awe. His mind’s capacity to manage many different modes of input and output has been substantial since I’ve known him, and mine has never been anywhere in the same league, but I used to have a little, you know? It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to switch from one kind of writing to another without a 2 hour transitional delay to decouple from one type and sink into another. For the last few years, I’ve been more disciplined about the kind of writing than anyone who is familiar with my affinity for routine-free, random operation will believe. Emailing time is set aside from emailing, blogging periods are set aside for blogging, social media writing is set aside for that, and so on, with a get-away-from-computer break between them all which can span a whole day if my workload is particularly intense. If I try to blog immediately after wrangling style sheets all day or vice versa, it goes horrendously pear shaped and nothing gets done – all my professional relationships rely on writing to nurture, so I have to be iron-clad about it.
The scrap of paper (or sometimes, ink on hand) method that I started applying to keep this daily blogging thing going, might finally be getting me across those yawning canyons though. As I continue to push myself to write something small everyday through the paranoia and not give in to the draft-36-times-and-then-scrap-it urge, the words are coming a little easier.
A reset might be on the horizon, one of these days.