August 4, 2014

Dealing with It

Sometimes it would suddenly decide to sit there, on your comfortable couch—in a relaxed, casual pose if you’re lucky, or in a permanent rock-like one if you’re the type who attracts misfortune. Although such times add up to a far smaller portion of your creative life than you think, the obvious way in which it shows its unwillingness to participate makes you nervous—so much so that you can’t come up with even a single solution to deal with it. Should you sit down, too? Or should you remain standing (that is, if you happen to be standing at the time) until the moment it realizes it is being rude, leading it to take either one of the following actions: 1.) Invite you to collectively indulge in the plumpness of your over-priced couch, or 2.) Join your lonely standing cocktail party (minus the cocktail)? Or should you just walk out of the room?

But as you occupy yourself with all these questions, nothing changes; it is still there. It is still sitting on your couch. You know that the more questions you ask yourself, the longer it will be there. And you also know that the longer anyone, or anything sits on your couch, he or she or it will eventually get comfortable—perhaps even a little too comfortable.

It is your idea. You thought you had managed to get it moving, but it now appears to show no interest in movement. Instead it taunts you with its laziness, its lack of enthusiasm, its exhaustion. It is yours, but you are losing control of it. You remember very clearly the last time something like this happened, but you have no memory of the many years many other forms of it had happily agreed to walk, and even run great distances with you. It is natural to forget good things during bad times. This is one of those bad times. All you can see is its complex form resting on your goddamn couch, and it is dark outside. It is pretty dark inside too because you forgot to change the light bulb that is supposed to illuminate your tiny living room—which, by the way, is also your dining room, your working room, and your bedroom.  

Writer’s block, they call it. But you call it The Return of the Couch Potato. Except it is not a potato; it is your idea. Yet you somehow lost the power to control it—at least for now. You wanted to create something you could be proud of, but in order to do so you knew you would need a lot of energy to absorb everything around you—touching poems, gut-wrenching guitar solos, the tender kisses of your lover. So you did just that; you absorbed. You absorbed and absorbed and absorbed until it—IT!—finally showed up, and you were dazzled by its beauty. You got what you wanted. You were creating. Notes were taken, plots outlined, and powerful paragraphs of prose slowly filled the pages of your journal. But then, it happened.

It had had enough. It wanted to rest. Just for a while. Or maybe for a period of time longer than “a while.” Now that it’s on the couch, it might as well take a nap. You are a dry sponge. You are actually pretty tired yourself but you still want to keep going. You want to beg it to keep going with you, but you don’t because you’re too busy asking yourself the silly questions in Paragraph One.

Whose fault is it? Were you too harsh on it? Were you being too ambitious? You don’t know. You don’t know what to do. You don’t know where you should dump the blame. So you drag a chair and place it right next to your couch, and begin to write something like this, a scented candle burning beside you…