Friday, June 25, 2010

Writer's block

I'm sitting in front of the computer with approximately fifteen minutes until the pizza dough is ready for the "flatten it into pizza, top it appropriately with veggies and cheese, and bake it into twin discs of pi r goodness" stage. The sad thing is that I've been sitting here for most of the other twenty-five minutes the dough has been rising. I flit from news site to blog page, note interesting stories, ponder one, reject another, skip over a third, muttering "Drat all headline writers..." as I discover that the story's not even remotely the interesting quirky bit of news reality I had hoped it would be.

What to write about, what to write about...

I could do one of those "links" posts, I think. Then, instead of having to decide right away right this second which of these stories is the sort of thing I want to examine to the tune of five hundred words or so, I could just offer the link with a sentence or two of brief commentary. Those posts seem to work when I'm pressed for time--but at the same time, they're oddly unsatisfactory, too truncated and too full of links for the average person to bother clicking on. Besides--and here's the deal-breaker--I don't have a whole list of things I really, really wanted to write about all week but never got to. I'm finding the summer heat and pressing end-of-school chores to be interfering with my ability to concentrate on the news. I mean, I read this whole piece about that town in Canada that spent beaucoup bucks (Canadian) getting ready to host, with full maple-leaf pride, the G-8 summit--only to have the world leaders decide a couple of years ago to go the G-20 route instead, necessitating a venue change to Toronto, and leaving this little town with millions of dollars' (Canadian) worth of unused buildings and unnecessary renovations--and all I could think was Canada. It's cool there right now. They could turn those buildings into inexpensive hotels for broke Texans who need to escape the heat for a week or two in late June. It could be an international humanitarian gesture...

Clearly, not the stuff of which semi-decent blog posts are made. Hmm. What to write about, what to write about...

There's that story about how more women are childless than ever, along with that smug bit about parents being fatter than non-parents (they should meet my mom; nine children and she weighs about 105 pounds--in the winter in her coat and boots, that is), topped off with that terrible article about the parents who tried to sell their baby outside Wal-Mart; what is wrong with our culture, when it comes to parenting and child-raising and, you know, growing the expletive deleted up and getting off the drug of narcissistic selfishness (not to mention, in the baby-sellers' cases, methamphetamine)? I almost--almost--cheered for the inmates who roughed up the dad in jail, when they found out on the news what he was in for. But while I could pour out an angry rant in the time it takes the pizzas to bake, I have a feeling that a lot of this--women denigrating marriage, women rejecting motherhood, etc.--is really symbolic of a cultural decline that needs more thought than what I'd put into an angry rant on a Friday afternoon in the summer when all the remotely sane people have already logged off of the Internet and won't be reading blogs till sometime next week (if then).

In the end, I decide to do what I did above--write about writing, about the process of reading and sorting and pondering and rejecting and filtering before putting a single word into the little "post" box on my blog screen. Because on the days when the process of reading and sorting (etc.) leads to a big nowhere, when even as verbose a person as I am finds it hard to come up with anything even remotely interesting to say, it's better, sometimes, to admit to the writer's block brought on by June and heat and pizza night and summer blog stats (with the exception of the link from New Advent earlier this week--thanks so much!) and to give up the week as an indifferent mix, promising to do a little better next week.

Which I do promise.

:)

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is funny...when we moved here 20 yrs ago, the local Pizza Hut telephone number was a permutation of the middle number of ours. Where we lived once in a very small state college town, drunk hick kids would call us at stressful times during the year and bother us as our last name is one that easily recognized as being 'different' from a cultural standpoint. So, when we moved to our present major college town, we get phone calls at joyous occasions from people ordering pizzas. At first we considered offering a competitive deal when the calls came in, but soon realized that we couldn't beat the 15 min. guarantee that the pizza-maker advertised. Calls for pizza are drastically reduced in the summer, though.

For a while, our number was similar to WorkOne, a temporary hiring agency, and several times we were called by people seeking contact with relatives at the local Veterans Home. Nowadays, we get calls from various people, especially from California, that think we own a local motel. Sometimes, the calls are quite persistent and demandng.

Perhaps we need to change the phone message: Hello, you've contacted us at ... and no, we're not the pizza parlor, nor the XX local motel, and we are not looking to hire anyone right now. Thank you, and thank a vet.

kkollwitz said...

This post and the first comment have left me perfectly nonplussed.

That's no mean achievement.

Red Cardigan said...

kkollwitz, :)!

My post wasn't meant to be non-plussing; it was just a busy day at the end of a busy week, and I ran out of mental steam to write anything decent (but I've made a promise to myself to write at least one post each weekday unless actually impeded, so I needed to do something).

I think the first commenter was simply reacting to my mention of pizza-making. At least, that's what it seemed like to me...

LarryD said...

Erin - hey, if you're stuck in a rut on the writing end, I know you have a partial manuscript that is just begging to be read...

hee hee

:-)

Angela said...

Elizabeth, I take issue with your scathing dismissal of those who choose not to raise children as narcissistically selfish. So, people who want to have kids and do have them are not selfish, and those who don't want to have kids and don't have them are? How is this? Both sets of people are doing things that they want to do because they think that's what's best for them. I don't understand this judgmental finger-wagging. Kids are a lot of work, and not everyone is up to the task.

Those of us who don't have children contribute to society in other ways, such as through volunteer work, which we have time to do because we don't have family responsibilities. Please rethink your judgmental and smugly self-righteous attitudes towards those who choose not to have kids. It's not very charitable.

Red Cardigan said...

Angela, I think you commented to the wrong thread.

For the record, I agree with Elizabeth--except in situations where a couple is physically unable to have children, of course.

In fact, the Catholic Church views the marriage of Catholics who marry without any intention ever to have children (if that intention was publicly known before the marriage) as being no marriage at all; such a marriage may be annulled, because no marriage ever existed between such a couple. I checked on that with a priest at one point because other Catholics were arguing otherwise, but he assured me I have it correctly: there is no valid marriage possible between a couple who makes it known ahead of time, "We do not wish to have children."

Angela said...

@Red Cardigan,
No, I'm commenting on the intended thread.
As for your comments about my marriage, well, thanks for your opinion...Yes, I am one of those people who married without the intention of having children. While you are free to think whatever you like about my marriage, I remind you that what you think really doesn't matter...because it's my marriage and not yours!

Red Cardigan said...

Angela--it's odd because you're replying to Elizabeth, who doesn't appear to have commented on this thread at all. The software is probably dropping comments again (sigh).

My comments were on marriage in general; I don't know your marriage. But I will probably put up a post later on this topic. No Catholic can marry validly while publicly proclaiming that they are never going to have children by choice (that is, not merely by the physical fact of sterility or advanced age)--that's not my opinion, it's Church teaching. I'm guessing you are not Catholic.

Angela said...

@Red Cardigan:
I am Catholic. And I have never *publicly* (by "publicly", I mean other than in an anonymous comment on a blog, where no one can identify me) proclaimed that I am not going to have children. Why proclaim it? It's simply a decision my spouse and I have made, because we don't view childrearing as something that would make us happy. We don't like kids. We don't want kids. And we're not having kids. But unlike you, who seems happy when judging others, I'm not going to judge people that have lots of kids. I'm happy for them if that's what makes them happy. You'd probably be a lot happier if you had the same charitable attitude toward others.

Red Cardigan said...

Angela, I hope you'll consider commenting on my new post on the topic.

That said, it's not judgmental for me to say what I've said--I'm simply speaking the truth. In fact, since you're Catholic, I can tell you that according to canon law a valid Catholic marriage cannot be contracted between people who have decided prior to the marriage not to have children. You may wish to check with your pastor about this, if you are a practicing Catholic.