I believe writer’s block is an affectation suffered only by published authors obsessed with outdoing the positive notices from their successful novel.
So, I’m definitely not going to blame my lack of stacked paragraphs on this blog to writer’s block.
I’d say it’s more a case of topic block.
The worst sin a columnist can make, if one could call these missives columns, is to be boring.
My present mindset is everything that’s thinking about is boring.
Does anybody really want to read about me fumbling through a Shakespeare class at age 46?
Hell, I don’t want to read Shakespeare at any age let alone read about someone reading Shakespeare.
Maybe I could write my umpteenth update on my recovery from knee surgery.
Oh, what a tale. My arthritic knees hurt. All. The. Damn. Time.
I use a walker to go longer distances and a cane for shorter ones.
It feels like someone replaced my knees with two balloons filled with shards of glass and aluminum filings. I land just wrong and the things explode sending pain throughout my legs like grenade shrapnel.
My gait resembles a kid who got the off the merry-go-round after getting the rotation up to about 250 rpm — wobbly with a chance of falling.
That doesn’t make for fun reading.
Where’s the uplifting message about resilience there?
Oh, here’s a spot of uplift: I started physical therapy last week. That hurts like hell, too. I leave so tired and weak I think I’m going to have to call an Uber to drive me from the clinic door to my car.
That’s not page-turning stuff there.
I could write about how my unemployment expires this month. I should qualify for a federal extension that would keep me with some income coming in until I finish school.
But, of course, there is a hassle.
To get approved for this program you must deal with the federal government filtered through the state government, which is like saying to get to the cold beer at the back of the fridge, you must first punch through a wasp nest and then a bee nest with your face.
So, no, I don’t think I’ll write about that.
There’s always the topic of my morbid obesity.
People like to bring that up. I know that comes from a place of concern. They don’t want their friend/loved one to die — or suffer.
I get that.
I also understand my arthritis is exacerbated by my obesity.
But I don’t want to talk about it.
Know this: I’m trying. I tried a program recommended by one of my friends. I gained weight and lost money. I stopped. Now I’m just trying to cut calories.
And as many paragraphs I’ve stacked here on the topic of obesity and my diet, I really, truly, hand to higher power of your choice, don’t want to fucking talk about it.
I need no reminders of how fat I am.
I have the one mirror in the bathroom. I use the walker to get across campus.
We could talk about the weather. Wednesday was a nice day. It was the first day of fall.
I knew this because three different stories on my Google homepage alerted me to that Wednesday was the autumnal equinox.
Google rained virtual leaves across its homepage, which was almost as ridiculous as this CNN headline: “Fall: The season of cozy, delicious wisdom-inducing rediscovery.”
I’m not clicking on that link. I’m not linking to that story.
But I may change my home page to Bing. Or DuckDuckGo, which is a real thing.
To be fair, the beginning of fall is a quaint, mostly useless fact, one that I’ve noted many times before.
I wrote a lot of weather stories for the local newspaper.
Readers ate them up. I never understood it.
Sometimes it’s hot. Sometimes it’s cold. Sometimes it’s sunny. Sometimes it rains or snows.
Whatever it the forecast, you’re still going to have to live your life — especially in the age of Zoom meetings, work-from-home, and the virtual classroom.
I guess that’s my story of resilience.
Things aren’t going so hot right now.
The best any of us can do is get up tomorrow and try again.
Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
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