Is there anything more lonely, painful, or exhilarating than being a writer?
Have a seat while I suggest a few answers.
An inviting and comfy bench silently demands of its user contemplation, introspection, the creativity of thought, and a genuine appreciation of nature, time, space, and respite. The expected responsibilities of a sitting writer are far greater. No bench should be taken lightly, without knowing the cost.
For me, an empty bench is an ideal metaphor for the solitude that comes when pen meets hand yet words refuse to appear. In reality, writing is a lonesome misery filled with the greatest of expectations. Some have suggested the satisfaction in doing so comes from the process rather than the inevitable ripened fruit. Partially, this may appear to be the case since the final product is usually anything but delicious… if revisited.
As demonstrated in the pictures above and below, we strive for color in our prose, but forces, seemingly beyond our creative control, creep in like a frigid malaise, draping us in a drab black and white landscape of indecision. At times, the futility of it all becomes deafening in the silence. Then, we dig deeper within, attempting to locate the vibrant words constructed of bold colors despite being presented in black on white.
Suddenly, and often unexpected, the words begin to gush in brilliant hues or in shades of pastels with accents of black and gray where needed. The pain and solitude subside temporarily while an exhilarating rush of endorphin washes over you. All external forces surrender to the overwhelming internal power that comes when pen’s ink paints unfettered. During this fragile period, you have command of creation. Love, hate, beauty, violence, pathos, life, or death are yours to mold. You’re firmly perched on the bench of power, and your words have endless capabilities.
Like with computers, the crash can appear at any time. Be assured, it does and will come to all writers. Call it what you will. But it’s a visceral, miserable, and painful period when a writer questions his or her creative control. To find you have very little power over this “virus” is like trying to breathe underwater without a tank of air. It has been reported by some writers that they can go through periods of insomnia while mentally chasing their muse on holiday or from worry at how long this word drought will last. Now, a bench seems awfully cold and uninviting… a foreign frozen metaphor shunning a weary sitter. The utter loneliness of your unrequited love addiction with writing marinates, festering within you.
The saddest aspect of this condition is that you’ve been on this figurative roller coaster before and considering the weight of your books’ bag, maybe many times. Pain is easily forgotten with time and so is the fact you’ve been here far too often. If there is an easy answer or a process to control and end this misery, I’m clueless to it. But with time, I’ve learned one placebo to ingest for it, and it’s quite simple. Try not to worry so much about it before and especially when it occurs because like most things, this too will pass on its own schedule.
Rest easy because within your mind the benches of creation and wonder will appear in the most incredible locations, and your words will again roar.
There’s my bench!