Tag Archives: writer’s block

Keegan Jay, or how to beat writer’s block seventeen syllables at a time


I haven’t been writing — because shit is hard. There’s too much to write down, to get out, and unless I become a fiction writer soon — that is just start making things up… I’m going to have to get past this writer’s block.  I’ve written a whole lot of haiku in the last few years, like, a whole a lot, a lot.  And really, if I can’t manage seventeen syllables a day — well I might as well start tossing the writer’s notebooks.
So for my baby, on his birthday —

Five years past, and you,
were just an idea, But now,
always my sweet Keegs.

Confession, or where I start telling the truth.


I’m trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across—not to just depict life—or criticize it—but to actually make it alive. So that when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing. You can’t do this without putting in the bad and the ugly as well as what is beautiful. Because if it is all beautiful you can’t believe in it. Things aren’t that way. -Ernest Hemingway

The thing is — I didn’t know how to do this — I’ve written through so many things in the past — but not — Well I just haven’t known how.  Tonight — the bad and the ugly, and after that — everything else.

Dear Writer’s Block

Da Fuck?!

Look I have done ever mode of writing exercise to ensure the words would flow in some manner that assembled presentable – Not good mind you but presentable order-
But instead,
all modes of ill contrived poetic nonsense comes for from this pen.
Come on muse,
where you at?

I imagine people whispering —
Doesn’t she have anything new?
Oh sure 42 pages of absolute shit —
Not new shit
just bad shit —
that talks about absolutely nothing

Poetry I imagine happens as you peel back layers,
onion skin thin,
perhaps as stinky.
And to be almost honest,
I dear blocker of writing, have piling the layers on.

Because otherwise,
I would have to uncover more than even I have been able to let go  on stage.
Because there would be verses crafted of the
“I know you hate me,” let go from my, just four years old’s mouth — or the,
“I wish I wasn’t here any more,” the crushing angst of a six-year-old,
who after being calmed by the warm water of a five-minute shower — breathes,
“Mama, I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me.”
Oh sweet child of mine,
that my synapses run in you, I am so, so, sorry.
And then – then if I got done with the heartbreak of being a mama,
I would need to proceed through the litany of other broken heart fractures.
The failure of a marriage that I had vowed,
under a large oak tree, that stood in for god,
to stick with forever and a day–

And there is the hurt, that is friendships changing.
Those dear ones will always occupy puzzle piece shaped soul moments

And then, when done with all that tragic verse-
I would owe stanzas to fear,
couplet after couplet of —
I am not brave enough,
I can not go on  alone,
I can not be my myself.

But writer’s block –
You have made all of that impossible.
So now, I dwell in the could-bes of the page —
the should-haves of the lines.

Sylvia I am not,
But confessional poet I am.
This mic is  what I need,
and I will beak with out poems for you.

So Dear blocker of my muse –
kindly go the fuck away.

in search of muse.


I don’t know if I have a hundred words tonight-
maybe just a poem about writer’s block.
oh wait, I already wrote that-
Maybe I could tell you about spring-
but certainly there is a post like that hanging around somewhere
Perhaps I could post a picture of my kiddo – 
or tell you why I love teaching –
Man, am I out of ideas.
I’m feeling faintly ambivalent to the political
and too overwhelmed with the state of the Big East
to really talk about sports.

Dear muse, where have you run off to.
Would you mind, a return trip – stop by my bed tonight
breathe some inspiration in my half sleeping parted lips-
let the words that I wake with tomorrow –
be better than what I have tried to rake out tonight.

Thirty Days of Lists – List One


A friend from home had been posting lists everyday – and by Friday I couldn’t  resist any more. Lists are my thing, they are everywhere, little slips of paper, little missives from my earlier self, tucked in notebooks. They are my favorite thing to write.

September is my least favorite time to write.  I can barely get paragraphs out, so occupied is my brain with the beginning of school.  So this challenge from Thirty Days of Lists is good for me.  A little bit of writing, a little bit of crafting, a little bit of photography is just what I need to suss through the writer’s block.

And sure, don’t mind me if I am starting 22 days behind.

List #1 – I

  •  They are evidence of work done
  • or work not done.
  • They are parties planned
  • or meals made.
  • They remind me what I want
  • or what I need.
  • There is satisfaction in a list completed
  • or just a list created

Things to do instead of write your informational paper



Open document, check word count.
Check your email.
Check Facebook, while there, have conversations with your friend who you just saw at a party, your niece, and your student teacher
Oooh! Puppy.
No, no fostering puppies this week.
Pinterest. Oh pin pin pin. Crap, teacher’s blogs. . . you need to work on this paper.
Check school email to see if paper is due in the a.m. or p.m.
answer three emails.
Oh! Ten o’clock, The Newsroom is on.
Yah, you can write with this in the background.
Or blog, you can blog.


Check back to your paper between The Newsroom and True Blood.
True Blood, oh you’ve never watched that.  Vampires, they’re not annoying Twilight Vampires are they?
Ha, funny, a hate group of mixed race where every one hates vampires. Clever.
Paper.  Yah, that new paragraph sucks.
Erase whole new paragraph.

Decide your muse takes a break on Sundays. Set alarm for five. am.

Assignment One –


A homework assignment that asked me to do some thinking about myself as a writer? Yah, I’m going to post that on my blog.

A bit about the assignment – from the syllabus of English 712-
The purpose of this first project will be for you to reflect on your literacy practices: on yourself as a writer and reader and the literacy practices of formative groups and institutions (e.g., family, school, church).  The process of composing this three-page collection should develop your self-awareness. . .This project will resemble a collage.  Like an essay, it will have some overall unity of intention: the overall picture you want to convey about yourself as a literate individual shaped by certain social/cultural contexts. . . .Unlike an essay, the collection will include bits from various genres ordered as you wish to create an overall effect with some variation and texture.  . .

Tara, the writer.
An Ethnography in the Third Person

At age 9-
Crying. Report due on elevators,  She doesn’t know why she chose elevators, or was it Otis. Her mother picks up the pen, helps her finish.

At age 10-
Teacher enjoys Tara’s creative writing piece set on the bird sanctuary at her great uncle’s farm, and tells her so.  Tara beams.

At age 10-
Other children are told they are smarter. They get to write more and do more exploration on their own in a program called SOAR. This will bother Tara for years. Read the rest of this entry

I’ve got nothing. . .


Nothing to write about.

No stories to tell,
no words to convey,
no angst to lay out on a page.

I mean,
I want to tell you all about this one time in Ireland,
but it will take too long.
And there was this certain day at work,
but I like my job. Read the rest of this entry

Um. Duh.



How? How have I not read this till now? I mean, I knew enough about it to buy ten copies for my classroom. It has been sitting on my bed stand, taunting me, for weeks, months. This copy even has a coffe stain on the front cover already, from that week it sat on my desk at work.

But now, now I am just done with chapter one, and it is like everything I ever need to read about writing is there. Oh the discovery, of words you need to read . . .it is what makes me want to write, more, everyday, and better.

Even if that means working through the heartbreak of writer’s block and typing words that are painful to convey through that damn blinking cursor.

Sometimes. . .


Sometimes, I just want to write about the political.  Be it the politics of motherhood and the war on women, or the politics of a fourth estate gone missing, or even just the politics of a two-party system and a presidential election. Sometimes, when I start these pieces, I am so angry by the fourth paragraph, I can barely get my words out coherently (oh and this one too).

Sometimes, I just want to write about how sad I still am. How I hate father’s day, and May. But instead, I just stopped writing for six weeks. Read the rest of this entry