Writer’s Block. Now, with salad.

Photo by Carly Jayne on Unsplash

I really didn’t want to write. I hated writing more than anything. It was painful and made my intestines clench up and my jaw tighten and my teeth rub together in a way that alarmed my dentist.

It was a practiced alarm, though, because he was always very eager to recommend an expensive mouth guard, which I always declined. All my teeth are going to fall out anyway, I figured, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. After all, hadn’t humans lived for millennia without mouth guards?

Of course, those prehistoric humans were smart enough not to spend their days staring at a menacing blank document on their laptops.

But they must have had other stuff that stressed them out. Sabre-toothed tigers and prehistoric mothers-in-law and such. And anyway, they had the wisdom not to eat enamel-destroying sugar all the time, and also to die at a sensibly young age, before dental problems could manifest themselves.

Point is, I wasn’t going to buy his stupid mouth guard.

Instead, I would sit here and stare at my blank document and grind my teeth ferociously until words came out of my fingers and onto the page.

A thousand words, specifically.

225 down, 775 to go.

It was a weird way to spend time, for sure. Especially when there were so many enjoyable ways to spend time. Or I assumed there had to be. The fact that I couldn’t think of any made me question my imagination, and therefore my ability to put any words on the page ever again.

But presumably other people — not me — were doing things and living lives without spending two hours a day grinding their teeth in front of their laptops.


God, I hoped so.

But when I tried to think of anything else I could be doing — in fact, I had been trying to think of this for most of my adult life — I really drew a blank. Come on. Just think of one fun thing.

For some reason, a Mountain Dew commercial popped into my head, full of tanned bros doing sweaty, sunny, athletic things like mountain biking and surfing, and I shuddered.

No, thank you. If that is what the world has to offer, then I’d rather sit here and die while staring at my screen.

But sweaty Mountain Dew fun was clearly not for me. What about, like, more fun woman things? Shopping and eating salad and getting pedicures?

Salad sounded pretty good right now.

Should I go get a salad? I mean, how can you write if you’re hungry? I thought about arugula, blue cheese, candied pecans and roasted beets, all drizzled with sweet balsamic, and my eyes glazed over with desire. A fresh buttered baguette on the side, of course. And maybe a glass of red wine…

But if I went out in search of food now, I’d never get back to “writing” today. Or sitting and staring at a blank page while my insides twisted themselves into knots. This was the closest I was going to get today. Because after this, there was pickup and kids and dinner and generally being a person in the world and I wouldn’t get to this until tomorrow. That was a fact.

Was that bad, though? Like, what if I never got back to it? What’s the big deal? I could maybe just live and enjoy my life?

At the prospect of having to enjoy life, I felt the twinge of that familiar black abyss open up inside me, the emptiness always lurking within, ready to swallow up my world.

I panicked and wrote a paragraph.

The beast inside grumbled quietly, shifted position, but then settled down and went back to sleep.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Just another 350 words, and I’d be safe for another day.

And then I could go have my salad.

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