Laboring in a chronic state of something or other
Imagine yourself being in a chronic state of constipation.
You always feel a little uneasy, uncomfortable, not quite right, bloated, full of angst, looking for relief.
Shall I go on?
Nothing really cures this condition completely — nothing over the counter, nothing under the counter, nothing on top of the counter or even in it.
Get the picture?
Well that’s what it’s like to write for a living, I’ve decided as we’re in the midst of this Labor Day holiday weekend, a time to contemplate what we do to earn a paycheck, the value of our work, the end product of our toil and troubles.
Sorry, mom, for the parallel I have drawn between the two.
I can picture my dear modest mother reading this, thinking to herself, “Good Lord, where on Earth are that girl’s manners to write such things?!! She wasn’t raised that way — she was brought up to exercise common decency in polite society!”
But when it comes to putting together human interest stories or community news or weekly columns, a little fiber writing supplement of some sort surely could go a long way.
After all, this is tough work on many fronts, especially if you do it all at the speed of Janice, always second guessing the approach, the process, the words used and the ones waiting their turn.
A story has a beginning, a middle and an end — the potential to educate, enlighten, entertain.
Words are waiting to hook up together, produce a thought and make sense. Do that and repeat the procedure.
So what’s the problem? Piece of cake, right? Get crackin’.
It’s hard to concentrate, though, which is a mandate of the creative process. There’s that blank screen staring back at you, taunting, laughing, waiting for a little keyboard action.
The brain goes blank sometimes, able to remember the combination to your high school locker, unable to form a sentence and swing from the start-to-finish vine.
There are times I imagine that personal trainer at my side, cheering me on with that catchphrase “You can do it!!!”
Some days I’m not so sure.
And there are those interruptions, derailers away from any evidence of progress.
It’s pretty maddening to get on a roll and finish a whole paragraph, a full thought that makes reasonable sense and is pretty darn close to being read-worthy, and then have an incoming call from home.
Better Half is on the other end, innocently “wondering” what we might be having for dinner. I tell him the answer will present itself when someone “wanders” over to the stove and wields his magic.
Writing is like being in the wrestling ring. You’re either up and knocking out a story or down for the count, communing with the floor and ceiling and not much else. The bell rings. Round two! Go get ’em, Rocky!
I don’t know how writers come up with those jingles like “Just do it” or “Got milk?” or how people write books for a living. Right now, I’m reading “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng, a great book. I’m thinking how much angst went into the process to produce these results?
What brand of writing fiber supplement did they use?
Whatever the case, Happy Labor Day weekend.
May the end product of your work bring you some relief.
(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at email@example.com.)