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Stress-Related Injury, September 7th, 1997 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

the soapbox @ benturner.com
archived soapbox: September 7th, 1997
"Stress-Related Injury" [permalink]
    keywords: writing, internet, world wide web, personal sites, stress, life, writer's block
    soapbox #: 101
    written: September 7th, 1997
    words: 956

"Stress-Related Injury", an Essay

Okay, I admit it. I won't hide it. I won't make up stories to cover up for this. My well of creativity is severely tapped right now. It's bothering me a bit. Not the sort of stress which keeps you up at night or makes you worry so much you can't do any work without lapsing into frustration. Just the sort where you don't know what you'll feel like doing next, where you have no idea what you're going to write about.

This happens to me on occasion. Usually, it goes away in the span of a week or two. I suspect it'll happen this time, as well. So I'm not terribly worried about losing my motivation to write so damn much. I'm just worried because I don't think I've ever felt so devoid of ideas before.

I wrote about writer's block once before, but that had more to do with being distracted enough so that my grasp of my vocabulary was painfully weak. That was different. I knew what I wanted to say. I had ideas for writing things. I just couldn't pull out the fancy words when I needed them, to add to the meaning and precision of each sentence.

Right now I just don't have that Soapbox © feeling. It's weird. I'll sit around and read the paper or read the news or look outside at all those suburbanites...just ANYTHING to get myself really ticked off to the point where you'd have to pry my fingertips away from my room so I could type and express my rants. Creation of weekly Soapboxes employs a certain ritual that cannot be modified or changed in any fashion. Imagine a Henry Rollins video. It takes a whole day to get into that mood, to write with a recklessness and lack of tact.

Ever interrupted a lion while it's sinfully enjoying eating the carcass of an antelope?

But I don't have that gut feeling right now. There are no provocative issues that I feel like discussing right now. There's nothing which is really getting me down or getting me pissed off. Sure, there was moving in to my apartment and all, but come on, who wants to read about something as dull as that? That stuff's reserved for those people without passion who maintain diaries and .plans... ;)

Maybe I have nothing to write about in the 'Box because there IS nothing to write about. This year, overall, has been pretty calm. I have the luxury of writing about precious Anna all the time, but there are only so many things I wish to disclose about our relationship online, and there are only certain times when I feel my expression of adoring love for Anna is more appropriate in a 'Box than in a private love letter to her mailbox for her to read when she gets home from school or whatever.

The news has been pretty boring, in terms of controversy. I know you're thinking Lady Di. But come on. Really. What is there to say? Mother Theresa...what, am I going to argue she DIDN'T contribute to humanity? Hey, there's a thought...

<conspiratorial wheels and cogs begin to turn in Ben's mind>

There's a lull in the injustice in my life right now. No anxious cops or hypocritical students' groups or something else like that is nipping at my heels right now. I guess that's good.

Sometimes I just try too hard to make something great. Adding those several layers of meaning, changing a word to a different one to give it the added twist of an inside joke, or modifying things so that they'll reward those with observant eyes. When I don't feel as if I've truly done something that's worth reading, I lose confidence and for awhile, I don't want to do any more writing or creating because I know it won't be the best of what I can accomplish. It's important for me to maintain that sort of quality assurance, but to also forge ahead and keep trying and keep growing, so I'll be stronger and wiser when I grow older.

But you'd still think I'd be able to find something to write about. Maybe I've run out of things to say. Maybe I'll implode, using up what I have. Yeah...maybe I need a break. Maybe, maybe, maybe. It's kind of scary to think that maybe after writing so much, spending so much time, all for a site, that I've tapped the well dry at this point in my life, and I'll need to wait until I experience another decade or two of life to be able to write more.

I don't REALLY believe that's what's going on. Right? Ben?

I think it has more to do with the school year starting up again. The preoccupations of adjusting to a different city and schedule and all just keeps me thinking about that, instead of about inflammatory issues. I have no time for free pondering at the moment. No time to just sit back and enjoy everything for a whole day. I think I'll reserve that time for Christmas, with my sweetie.

Perhaps I'm just performing an extended ritual I do. Instead of spending a whole day getting myself psyched up, I need a couple weeks. And maybe I just need to experience more things before I can write about broad, general issues comfortably again. Maybe I just haven't completely adjusted yet.

Whatever it is, you know I'm good at what I do and I'll be back soon in full, flaming form.


 
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