Stuck on ‘Waiting for Godot’

I had this beautiful plan over the Christmas break to get a tattoo. It hasn’t worked out with timing and running around and falling over and unexpected trips to the beach. Instead, my tiny brother bought me a mantra ring and I’ve been wearing ‘believe’ on my index finger while typing away today – the phd mantra ring has stayed on my right hand for many years now.

Deb’s beautiful and challenging piece ( on writing abundantly, boldly, and dangerously is all I’ve been thinking about these past few days. It felt like the writing version of a warrior’s cry, so I’m joining the charge, face-paint and all. I’m not one for very structured new year’s resolutions but, watching the waves wash over my feet at the beach yesterday, I made a promise to myself for this year. Last year was tough but I will take all the learnings from it and be brave and bold in 2015. I will believe in myself – hence the tangible reminder on my finger – and keep on working hard, trusting that this year can only be better because it will be different.

Sometimes change is enough…

Except, right now, I’m stuck on ‘Waiting for Godot’.

Taken to see it in Dublin last year, memories of the play have been prodding me ever since. I scribbled notes on napkins in the interval and dinner afterwards and carried them back all the way across the world. These rambly scribbles have gone from napkins to play pages to a vaguely-started word document. Lots of arrows and stars seem to be used in each iteration – sometimes I really do write like a drunken spider. There are murmurs about what I want to write about – how stories of happiness were told and what hope there was in waiting even when they spoke of death, and, at least in the production I saw, how lonely and softly-menacing the tree in the background looked, even with leaves. And I know it’s getting close because Vladimir’s words, particularly, interrupt everything else I’m doing, especially his first line:

“I’m beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I’ve tried to put it from me, saying, Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven’t tried everything. And I resumed the struggle”

It’s all still ramble though and dancing around the house trying to figure out exactly what to say, and how exactly to say it. (I’m assuming dancing around the house to various music is a normal part of everyone’s writing routine). Two days into braver and bolder, writing is as hard as it’s ever been, but the play of this, as frustrating as it can be, is also the fun part in a perverse kind of way. So I keep looking at believe on my finger and remembering that, at some point, things will become unstuck and the paper will get written. I haven’t tried everything yet so the struggle is always resumed.

I’m not surviving on turnips so that can only work in my favour.

How do you fix your writer’s block?

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