Above anything else, I want to drag myself out of this rut.
I want to read my words with my own two eyes, slowly nod my head, and say to myself, “Yup, I’ve still got it.” I want to believe in this body, this mind; I want the prose to fill the page like homemade meals fill a stomach, warm and solid down my throat, leaving me full and maybe even a little happy. I want to believe in myself; I want to believe that creativity is something I’ll never lose, that the artistic impulse is trickling down the lines of my brain and seeping through my skin at this very instant, coloring my veins a brighter blue, visible in every fingerprint. Above anything else, I want to believe this is true.
I know that, somewhere inside my head, there is a garden. Just like any other garden, it changes with the seasons, and just like any other gardener, I have a responsibility to tend to it. But a harsh winter shortened the days and sent me scurrying into my farmhouse, where I lay huddled in blankets, coping with my seasonal depression for far longer than I should have. A month passed. Then another. I decided I deserved the break, and that my garden would be there when I returned. Unconcerned, I entertained myself by lighting matches and enjoyed their brief spurts of warmth. I found contentment in sleeping on top of straw only to fold so far back into the darkness, that by the time I pried open my eyes, I discovered I had been reduced to a shadow.
Walls up. No windows. One door.
I stand on wobbly feet, barely resisting the pull of the sedentary life, of the vanilla bean absence of energy, dreamlike comfort of inertia. My fingers graze the wooden door frame and splinter on impact, yet there is no blood spilled, only a dull pain that I choose to ignore. Still void of emotion in my half slumped state, I push open the heavy door. Suddenly, I am staring at an endless expanse of death, acre after acre of soil ash gray in the darkness. The flowers I carelessly planted have long since died from thirst. The trees stand erect in their fruitlessness, neither dead nor alive, but rather like ghosts — graves —memories. And as I stand in the destruction I caused by doing nothing at all, a red sun trembles on the horizon like blood on an onyx blade.
So here I am, a husk of the person I once was. Here I am, standing on my own two feet but feeling no more alive than this garden I let die. Here I am, deserted on the edge of a desolate barn as I face the consequences of my neglect. Here I am, here I was, here I wonder: what can I possibly do now? Should I stoop down to my knees and scrape my fingernails through the dirt, or should I return to setting matchsticks on fire, held in ignorance’s chaste embrace?
I sit here typing, and yet I feel as though I am tunneling deeper into the earth instead of grasping at threads of light. Every word I write is a weed pulled from a dry, hard surface; there is no blossoming of flora, no sweet scent behind my ear. I sit here typing, and I want nothing more than to dig myself out of this rut. But I wonder if I am capable of returning to the writer’s world with this wasteland of a mind.
Update: Audrey is fine now. Ironically, this piece about writer’s block helped her break out of her writer’s block!