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poet, technologist, cynic, father of five, child of chaos, punker, prankster, patriot, punster, leftist, latino, japanophile, audiophile, beer drinker, quiche eater, dog walker, soft talker, deep thinker, shallow sleeper, introvert, covert operative in a parallel universe.

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    the haiku blog of paul david mena

    Friday, October 20, 2006

    writer’s block — the ultimate inspiration...

    my “writer’s block” haiku was actually part of an article I wrote for the e-journal I am reprinting the article in its entirety with my own permission.

    Have you ever set aside a precious block of leisure time for writing, only to find that the Word Well has run dry? Speaking for myself, this phenomenon is at least as common as its opposite: experiencing a “haiku moment” without a means of capturing it in words. The latter often happens when I’m on the train: I see something that jars my imagination but circumstances make it impossible to write. The former usually occurs when I suddenly find myself with a few unclaimed minutes. I tell myself to write, but I draw a blank. I’m sure I’ve experienced something worth sharing, but nothing comes to mind.

    In the past I’ve unplugged this creative logjam by writing about it. As a matter of a fact, my first published haiku was inspired by... a lack of inspiration:

    at a blank sheet of paper —
    a night without words

    What worked for me 12 or 13 years ago still works today. I try to write during my commute to and from Boston, but sometimes I’m totally empty. So the other day I started with “writer’s block“ as a first line and then gave myself the exercise to jot down the first interesting thing I saw:

    writer’s block —
    a man fishing bottles
    from the trash

    Looking through my archives reveals that I do this fairly often.

    writer’s block —
    the dog sniffs
    every tree

    writer’s block —
    a kite
    caught in a tree

    writer’s block —
    feeling every swing
    of the axe

    writer’s block —
    the poetry magnets

    ...and before I know it, I’m writing!


    Blogger polona said...

    that's an interesting article and a useful piece of advice. surely we've all encountered writer's block and this may actually help make us write :)

    11:57 AM  

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