|Jinny has been very ill and is currently undergoing rehabilitation in a Bangor facility so she will not be writing her article for awhile. She is making excellent progress and hopes to be able to return to writing her column in the near future... Adele.
About a week ago, when I started thinking about what to write for this week, I found myself unable to come up with even a ghost of an idea. I wasn't upset or worried; I hardly ever come up with an idea for a new article right after writing one. Almost never.
During the week I pondered the question on one or two occasions and even came up with a few ideas for subject matter. They were not bad ideas, in fact, some of them were really good ideas, but I just couldn't find a way to expand upon them. I would get, maybe a paragraph out of and idea and then pfffffftt...nothing. The bad ideas weren't so much bad as boring. It is an art to take perfectly ordinary and boring things and events and make them into something interesting or amusing, Jerry Seinfeld has made an entire career out of doing just that, but I was just not getting anything in the way of inspiration from anything I could think of.
Occasionally things will happen to me or to others that are particularly bizarre or funny and when that happens, it is like getting an unexpected gift. It's like life is deliberately lending me a hand in my quest for ideas. Sometimes the news is my friend and there is some story or event being written about or broadcast that opens the door to all kinds of ideas. That is always nice and I am grateful when it happens.
But sometimes you find yourself suddenly living in a blank world where nothing seems to be happening and no one is amusing and everything is bland, colorless, and in a coma. That is what happened to me this week. I had ideas, I just could not expand upon them. Either that, or I just could not figure out how to make them interesting or amusing. People said and did things there silly and weird, I just couldn't make any of them translate into actual words, sentences, and paragraphs without somehow sucking the amusement right out of them. There was not enough material to turn them into anything but a one-liner. I have no problem expanding on a theme, but there is only so much to be made out of limited resources; you can't grow a field of peanuts from a Snickers Bar.
For any writer, this is a terrible dilemma and very frustrating. You can remember having a plethora of ideas that you had in your head when you had no problem coming up with them, and you are very casual about them when the well was full. When everything dries up, you can't seem to recall a one of them, and if you do, you can't remember why it was a good idea or what you thought you would write about. Then you get mad at yourself for being so careless with good ideas and not taking the time to sit down and write about them when they passed through your head the first time. It's like being one of those characters in a novel or movie who is phenomenally successful and lucky and just seems to be a magnet for good fortune and cool stuff, but who suddenly finds himself at the mercy of fate where things start to go bad, roll down hill picking up speed, and finally unravel like a cheap sweater. At the end of the book or movie the character is lying in some alleyway in skid row dying of liver disease or rotting in a dungeon somewhere waiting to be horribly tortured, drawn and quartered, and beheaded. I might be a little melodramatic here, but you get the picture.
So here I am, totally out of ideas and completely uninspired, with nothing to write about because my life is so dull and uninteresting and my brain so numb and bland, that I cannot bear the dullness of my existence, much less find something in it to bore anyone else with. I berate myself for my lack of imagination. After all, one of my favorite writers, a man I admire most sincerely once said that, when confronted with a lack of information, the best possible response is to just make something up. A perfectly good suggestion. Now if I could just think of something to make up. I can't. The well is absolutely, thoroughly, tragically bone dry.
There is a moral to this story somewhere, but sadly, my tiny little brain has taken a vacation from the rest of me and is sunning itself on the beaches of St. Tropez while an adorable waiter brings it a cold drink with a little umbrella in it, or it is sailing in a yacht off the coast of Greece sipping vintage champagne out of paper-thin crystal glasses, and admiring the bright full moon and the coastal lights while James Bond whispers something lovely in its ear. Regardless of where it is, it is most decidedly not hanging out with me, so I can't possibly come up with a decent moral or any other smart or pithy ending to the story. What am I saying? There is no story. There isn't even an idea. You don't have to say 'the end' when you never even began....do you?