Monday, August 30, 2010

Storm In A Teacup

I am here at the page. A place I have not frequented on a regular basis all summer. At present I am trying to overcome jet lag and some lethargy. Of course jet lag cannot be the excuse for my lack of concentration and motivation throughout the whole summer. A summer where reading and writing required such mammoth effort.

But here I am now with my favorite pen in hand. Actually I have two identical favorite pens. Twins you could say.  One I always carry with me and the other is kept with my notebook. I brought both these pens to Ireland with me. Better to be sure than to be sorry, Right?! I was delighted I had the foresight to bring them both when pen one ran out of ink. I clutched pen two in my hand with a self satisfied grin and continued to write. About a week later pen two ran out of ink. I did not have the foresight to bring ink refills with me. I tried to find a replacement pen, one that words just couldn’t wait to leap from pen’s tip to the page but my efforts proved fruitless.

Could my lack of writing enthusiasm really boil down to the feel of a particular pen in my hand? An idea would flash into my head. I sat to the table, holding the replacement pen unhappily in my hand and wrote the first sentence of new flash. Replacement pen unlike favorite pen did not keep going. I stalled, I struggled, I stopped. The answer it seems is yes, it did boil down to the pen. 

Okay so maybe the pen was the reason I did not get much writing done. But reading….what happened there. In fairness, I can’t blame the pen for that. That comes down to a total lack of concentration. It took me forever to get through a book. My reading slowed to a snails pace.  Last summer I read no less than fifteen books. I wrote every day, I was productive. This summer I read only six books and wrote very little. In an attempt to console myself I took to editing writings from last summer. Telling the unconvinced voice nattering in my head that this was good! This was productive! This was writing too!

Adding to my angst, I lost patience with the slowness of my broadband computer service and just had to give up blog commenting to maintain some semblance of sanity. It was taking a year and a day to post a comment, never mind the loading a blog to read it. Then there were the blogs I had to just give up altogether. Beautiful, wonderful blogs, but my computer totally refused to load them. Dispatches from the Deise, Writing in the Crosshairs, Agnes Pages, Diary of a Virgin Novelist, and Walk2Write in Florida. I am looking forward to catching up with your wonderful blogs. I have missed you.

The thoughts swirling around in my head, keeping me awake at night and paralyzing my hand these past weeks are, "Am I just a storm in a teacup? Is my lack of concentration and inability to produce a sign I’m all used up. A has been before I have been and a ten month blog wonder?" I dread the thought, because this year of writing and blogging has been a year of great contentment for me.  I have experienced an inner soul type of contentment.  Something I have been grasping at and chasing all my life.

So what is the moral of this little tale? Well first off, not only bring both favorite pens everywhere, also bring multiple ink refills.

Hopefully the storm in my teacup was only momentary and my muse….my writing mojo will grace me with it's presence once again!  Fingers crossed.


Theresa Milstein said...

May September bring you back to writing, reading, and blogging. I feel like my August has been very unproductive writing-wise. I did much more in July. At least I've been reading a lot. And you set up Networked Blogs!

Slow computers make it all impossible. It was good for you to give up and concentrate on other things.

I'm sure the transition to Ireland and back isn't easy.

Susannah said...

Nice to see you back, I've missed you. :-)

Old Kitty said...

Oh Ann you are so hard on yourself! Six books only in the summer! Are you crazy?!? LOL! I'm still reading one I started in erm... April. LOL!!! So WELL DONE YOU!!! Good for you - six is better that nowt! Or a hellofalot better than me! LOL!

You hang on to your pens and get lots and lots and lots of inkwells - this is such a wonderful way to write - pen and paper - none of this desktops and word docs and things! Just have them around cos you never know when inspiration will strike and I know they will you cos you're a writer, darn it and a writer writes!!!

I am very sorry about your broadband connection. I know I'd be very lost without mine. But I'm presuming you are back in the US cos you're jetlagged? So hopefully things will be ok internet wise!

It's great to see your blog pop up in my blogger dashboard!! WELCOME BAAAAAAACK!!!

Take care

Ann Best said...

I am amazed that you compose with pen and paper. I did this when I was a teenager--couldn't compose on the typewriter. But the computer is another thing altogether.

But pens are very important, I think. One does need that certain pen. It IS interesting what will flub us up where writing's concerned. But these spells do come and go in every writer's life. And six books read in the summer! I think that's more than I've managed. And you've also been to Ireland. How delightful! So now you will get lots and lots written.
And welcome back.

KarenG said...

I've often thought of you and your slo-o-w computer and how you described it in one of your posts that still makes me chuckle. btw I got my prize book from you and look forward to reading it!

fairyhedgehog said...

I have a set of favourite pens and I know what you mean! Maybe you just needed to take it a bit easier this summer. Sometimes we need a break.

Al said...

Don't beat yourself up.
Your muse will come knocking again.

Alexandra Crocodile said...

You really can't write without your favourite pen? I think 6 books is a lot, actually!

Don't worry about it, I say - some days you're productive, some days you're not. That's life:)

Olive said...

I think during summer, it can be quite hard to write. There are too many distractions, like going for walks on the beach or generally just lazing around. July & August have been slow writing months for me too, so don't worry, you're not alone:)

Hart Johnson said...

I have a certain KIND of pen I like, but as they are disposable, I buy them in 12 packs and am usually okay--I have a couple everywhere (medium point, blue roller).

I hear you though, on having a really rough time when you are abroad--I am a creature of routine and much more efficient when I am in my normal environment. Hope you can get back to it now!

Jen said...

I look forward to hearing you got your muse back, and have started to read a lot more!!!

I love to write in certain places, and when they are unavailable my writing definitely suffers, I'm not sure why, but I think we get into those routines and when they work, why change them?

Anonymous said...

Ann, I think you may have had a summer like mine, a lot of distraction and beach walking with family around, but maybe we need that time out and all the lovely thoughts in our heads will resurface in the winter, welcome back, you were missed, and thank you so much for the lovely comments on my magpie tales, I really appreciate them.
They are about all I have written all summer, thats why I took up the challenge.

walk2write said...

I've missed you too! Maybe you just needed a rest. Things happen sometimes to give us that little nudge we would ignore otherwise. A good writer grows best when the soil is lean or the weather is bad or the gardener is nowhere to be seen. Keep those pens filled and the thoughts will flow again soon. Thanks for the lovely compliment and encouragement.

Talli Roland said...

The summer is always a hard time to write for me - it's kind of a limbo phase. I think once you get back to routine you'll be flying!

Travis Erwin said...

My muse ditched for a year and a half or so but finally returned. Hope yours proves to be lots more reliable.

Lola Sharp said...

First, welcome back. :)

Second, YOU ARE WAY TOO HARD ON YOURSELF!!! Editing/revisions totally count! (to me, they are the worst part of the process, so doing edits, in my eyes, is EXTRA points!)

Also, I wasn't nearly as productive (writer-wise) this summer as I'd hoped, or have been in the past. Life got busy, plans got changed.
Sometimes I think that's a good thing.

And last...what brand is your magic pen? I wanna see! :)

Here's to a productive September/fall!
PS-Oh, the coke-cola choc. cake is for real, and SO DAMN's best homemade, but the Cracker Barrel serves a deelish one! So moist. LOVE. *drool*

Barbara Scully said...

Hi Ann. I definitely think that Summer is a time when our energy goes whizzing off in a million different directions. When we live life in a fuller way. We engage with others and the world. So I am sure that many of us were not as productive as we would have liked. But now we are on the cusp of autumn when energy draws in and the world slows right down. And your creative self will return!

arlee bird said...

You must have been doing a lot of writing to run out of ink like that so that's not so bad. I know what you mean about the pens. I buy inexpensive but comfortable practical pens by the box and always have one on me. I rarely write by hand. I too like to carry an extra pen in my pocket if I'm going to be away for a while and always carry some extras in my suitcase if I'm travelling.

Tossing It Out

Niamh said...

Hi Ann - Don't be too hard on yourself - I'm still holding back because I haven't got a black moleskin notebook like the one I wrote soooo well in last time (ie half a year ago...) Before that, I was waiting for a blue thick a4 notebook exactly like the one I wrote my first stories in ... i could write with a twig and poster paint...its the notebooks that do it for me. Anyway summers arent a productive time are they? Autumn is better...enjoy your improved broadband...mine is as slow as you described, its frustrating I know, hope you have a wonderful fruitful sept!

Paul C said...

I am sure your experiences in Ireland will result in some wonderful writing when you get over from the jet lag. One needs a rejuvenating rest.

Mary said...

Hi Ann, may your autumnal writings flow fast and free from your favourite pens!

Elle Strauss said...

Six books ain't bad. :) I feel it's fair to blame a good amount on jetlag...why not? You already feel like a crap, might as well make good use of it. (I travel to Germany a couple times a year).

Now that you're back, I'm sure the words will start to flow again! Read and written.

Catherine said...

Thanks so much for the lovely book you sent me - I want to save it for when I have time to read it without too much distraction (that could mean never so I will be pragmatic about the timing!). Anyway good to see you back in blogland and I hope you will retrieve your muse pretty quickly. I do think the writing implement is important - there are biros and pens I can't write comfortably with even work-wise. Now I just find I am far more fluent on the computer, since I had to do academic writing back in UCC some years ago. I have some pens - a Sheaffer and a Parker - which I must get back into using sometime. Have fun anyway and happy reading through the winter - I'm re-reading Small Island (Andrea Levy)for book club (Bloggers in a couple of months and real one now) now and enjoying it.

Kristin Miller said...

I love the picture, first of all. It drew me in and had me reading right away. Second, I have to get things just right for inspiration to flow as well. (ie: perfect pen in hand, coffee to the left of the screen among other OCD things that I'm too new to your blog to mention! ;))
Anyhow, lovely blog, glad I stopped by,