Rogue Ink

June 24, 2008

Dirty Laundry in the Writing Room

Filed under: Writing — Tei @ 5:46 am

I figured out why I couldn’t write. It was because of all the goddamn laundry strewn across my computer.

I used to have a fantasy about this, actually. I had this awesome writer’s fantasy that I would string up a clothesline in a room, and clip pieces of my novel to it, and move them around in a cool and artistic way, and that other people would come into my room and be all impressed by it. I’d stand there in between the clotheslines, looking contemplative, moving one section to another part of the clothesline, and sip a glass of whiskey looking wise and put-upon, grumbling how no one understands artists. It was a good dream. Very Warhol-esqure of me.

The execution turned out to be a little bit sloppier and a hell of a lot less productive. Also, it did not involve me looking wise and contemplative, and there was no whiskey to be seen. It was a raging failure. I am never going to get to be Hemingway this way, people. Seriously.

I have personal issues. I am not going to talk about them here, because come on, y’all come for the funny and the occasional misuse of the word ‘mojo’ (are there any wrong uses for that word, really? I think not). Let us just say these were personal issues worthy of being called dirty laundry. In fact, they might even be worthy of being called dirty underwear. Oh, yes. That kind.

I didn’t realize it, but these issues were aggravating my writer’s block. I had the giant writer’s block (which, if you’ve never seen it, actually looks like one of those wooden child’s blocks with an A and a T and a duck and a 6 and a flower and a 4 on its various sides, except that it weighs a ton and every half an hour or so, a little jester-type creature pings out of the top of it and bitch-slaps you). On top of the giant writer’s block, I had laundry. You would think that the laundry would merely be a minor annoyance, but you would have underestimated the jester. The jester used the laundry for cover. He would hide beneath it and stealth bitch-slap me before I ever saw him coming, and then he would duck behind a pair of jeans and use a wayward thong to block my return blow, all the while saying unkind and unfounded things about my relationship with sheep.

Now, I made an error. My thought was if I could beat the writer’s block, then I would have time to deal with the laundry. This was stupid of me. The writer’s block, you see, looks like a more daunting task, but the laundry nags and nags at you until you can’t focus on getting rid of the writer’s block. Dealing with writer’s block when you have dirty laundry is something like trying to meditate on an anthill. It can be done, I’m sure, but it’s dumb when you could just move your butt on over to a hill with no ants in it.

So I took the weekend off. I neglected the blog (my apologies, all). I stopped beating my head against my web copy. I went out, talked to the people I needed to talk to, resolved some issues, and wandered out toward Sunday evening feeling pretty damn good about life. I scrubbed all my laundry up, y’all. No skid marks on my skivvies. Bleach and fabric softener and those useless little dryer sheets (what do those even DO, besides stick to your sheets and scare the bejeezus out of you when you slide into your freshly made bed?). Everything was shiny and clean and hung up and smelling faintly of lavender.

Then I went to tackle the writer’s block. Without any laundry to hide behind, that jester didn’t have a chance. I snatched his grinning little face out of the air the second he appeared, and then I ate him.

Yes. I ate him. What? He deserved it. Sheep, my left pinkie toe.

Now the writer’s block is no more, and my laundry is done, and I am here to tell you that unresolved issues make your writing suck.

Also, that jesters evidently taste like chicken. Or chicken tastes of jesters. Whichever.

Subscribe. I’ll make a vegetarian of you yet.



  1. It’s the absolute truth for me too.If my house isn’t in order,the *First things first* stuff done, my creativity suffers because I feel guilty that I should be doing something else and then I can’t just let go. I can’t just faaaall into that place where things come out. Writing gets to be too much work. And I’m so glad to hear that you ate the jester. He’s a pain in the rear.

    May calm and order surround you, may the muse greet you and hold you gently in her arms and may wisdom and humor flow from you mighty sword-pen and lips all the day long.

    Comment by wendikelly — June 24, 2008 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  2. Now you got me afraid of building blocks…


    Comment by Friar — June 24, 2008 @ 12:53 pm | Reply

  3. Do ALL jesters taste like chicken? Because I’m already a vegetarian and well… Although it does sound better than a sweat-sock-flavored jester…

    Laundry… I *hate* laundry… Real laundry, metaphorical laundry… It all haunts me.

    But I like your novel on a clothesline idea. That rocks.

    your long lost twin who is typing on iPhone and too lazy to log out of her wordpress account

    Comment by amyderby — June 24, 2008 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  4. This post proves my point – writer’s block isn’t writer’s block at all. It’s something else going on inside your head. It’s a problem that won’t go away. It’s an anxiety that just grows and grows, and you convince yourself it’s gotta be writer’s block, thus avoiding dealing with the actual issue.

    Good on you for seeing it for what it was and for dealing with it. Personal issues are, in my opinion, mental roadblocks that don’t allow us to get our work done. We haven’t lost the ability, nor are we blocked in what we want to write. We just have “stuff” to deal with before we can get back to concentrating on the important stuff.

    Comment by Lori — June 24, 2008 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  5. Shit. So that’s what’s happening with me. I haven’t been able to write for eleven years. Fiction, I mean. I must have some se-ri-ous issues. Crap, crap, crap.

    Comment by Steph — June 24, 2008 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  6. PS. I’m glad you’re past your block. I was getting worried.

    Comment by Steph — June 24, 2008 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  7. Wendi: Yeah, it’s true. Figuring it out makes you feel like a zen master, though. You just ride that monkey all the way to the popsicle stand. Or something.

    Friar: It’s cool. He’s all eaten. He won’t bother you anymore.

    Amy: It does rock. Feel free to use it. I am told that Icelandic jesters taste more like elk. That may be a horrible xenophobic stereotype, but I just repeat what I’m told.

    Lori: So true. Glad I figured it out. With my crazy smart brain. It’s the simple stuff that eludes.

    Steph: Dude. You must be fucked up. Go write about it. That helps.

    Comment by Tei — June 24, 2008 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  8. You should have told me about this. I’d have sent the Underpants Gnomes by next day air.

    Comment by Brett Legree — June 24, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  9. That little Chucky doll freaks me out and now I will never look at blocks the same. LOL! *shudders* Glad you ate the monster and got your groove back. Clutter physical or metaphorical is like a hairball in a drain pipe, can totally stop the flow.

    Comment by Karen Swim — June 24, 2008 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

  10. […] the same time, perhaps I should take Tei’s advice. Dude, she said, after I commented on her post yesterday, you must be fucked up. Write about […]

    Pingback by Writing About It « In Other Words — June 25, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  11. Hi Twi, hehe what a freudian slip is that eh?

    Writer’s block is bullshit! We are all assholes! Just throw some shit on the screen. C’mon now. Checking up on you. I hear your a Sag with a Cap crust. Some shit like that. I’m a Sag with a cap ascendant.

    Anyway, I told my husband that he should wear make up like that one comedian guy. I said, look. all the creatures from the animal world are all dressed up. Why can’t you guys be?

    I wish men would get it because it makes me want to turn gay.

    It’s Friday and I am perusing the stupid twitter. Like a hooker looking for an expensive twick.

    Comment by Ellen Wilson — June 28, 2008 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  12. Hi Ellen,

    I come here and check out the pub too, hang out on a Friday night after painting and make sure the place is still alive. I’m sure she is around somewhere… cooking up new recipes for jesters or something.

    Maybe someone else will show up, we could play cards, throw darts, drink all the beer. Better then Twitter that’s for sure.

    Comment by wendikelly — June 28, 2008 @ 3:17 am | Reply

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