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Writers’ Block, Cancer, Spiritual Dryness and Me

Writers’ Block, Cancer, Spiritual Dryness and Me August 31, 2021

So I wrote this beautiful post, about the trials of writers block and spiritual dryness, about how sometimes, writing comes word by word and seems to go no where.   Likewise, prayer comes in seasons, including times of stillness when it seems route or difficult, but offered yields the best spiritual fruit.   I worked and slaved for every word and only just finished at five-hundred-thirty-three words. Normally, I can type a thousand without breaking a sweat, but for the past few days, every word comes only with effort.   The internet eliminated my words.   I sat staring at the stupid blank page, at the lost words, wanting to will them back.     They did not come.  Only the memory of them remained.

Being a writer is a stupid thing.  We live for those moments when everything falls away and we can capture something of something, when time stops and we can barely type or scribble fast enough to keep pace with our thoughts.  Yet we do it even when it smarts, even when we’re tired, even when writing feels itself like a stupid thing.

How it feels when writers block is in full force and you write anyway…is when she takes the club that’s too heavy for her.

Part of why all of this is difficult, is there are so many things that loom. Last week we sent two children off to college. This week, we started school for everyone. Next week, I start chemo. Everything looms and it honestly overwhelms my brain. I know that when we deal with trauma, there are many responses, fight, flight, freeze and face. I am constantly wrestling with which of these 4 F’s I’m doing and never quite know when a lesser response will be forthcoming. Today I had a cardio test, and somehow that unnerved me even though there was no pain, no trial, no difficulty, just something about the hard reality of needing it that made it harder.

In writing, I often meander and discover what I think as I write and come to it. Likewise in prayer, sometimes I begin one place and find myself another by the end, and it turns out, that is where I need to be. With cancer, the meandering often leads away from being able to be strong and just press on to some place weaker, and I’m not sure why. I can be fine until I’m suddenly not and never quite know when that will happen. It unnerves. The rabbit holes of feeling are not friendly in the way that writing or prayer often are. People ask me how I am, and I am fine, and five seconds later, I’m not. Writers block works similarly, as I start writing and forget about the block until I remember, and it comes back.

So I’m here trying to scratch out the last seventy-five words of my post, back to counting, back to trying to pull the words out of my head, to bring myself somewhere new. Writing a blog post is a bit like an act of faith. I don’t always have a story to tell, but I trust that some truth will come out through the process. The writers block isn’t gone, I’m just ignoring it the same way one ignores spiritual dryness. You write anyway. You pray anyway. You persist not because it will lift, but because you trust that even if does not, it will do some good.

Press on, write on, pray on, face it and move on. That’s all I can do, and hope the words and consolation come, and the cancer goes away.

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