On Writer’s Block, Life Block and Hoarding

Beautiful Basil, my latest coonie baby -- summer of 2012 -- successfully reintroduced to the wild in May 2013.
Beautiful Basil, my latest coonie baby — summer of 2012 — successfully reintroduced to the wild in May 2013.

As a writer of web content, my work is not “War and Peace”, but I do take pride in the articles I produce for my clients. I also take a lot of time crafting my articles, I’m a slow, methodical writer. When I wrote exclusively for fun, not profit, years ago — poetry, essays and short stories — I was encouraged by my creative writing course teachers and thought that perhaps one day I would write professionally. The next great novel and poignant collections of poetry danced in my head. As a teen, I stalked poets and artists in Yorkville (in Toronto) to befriend them and hung around libraries researching the classics, reading Socrates, spouting philosophical mumbo jumbo to anyone who would listen  and generally being weird and ‘intellectual’. That, of course, was many moons ago and I have not had an attack of ‘intellectual’ in many, many years. However, I would still consider myself weird — in a good way.:)

In 2000, I learned how to design websites and wrote copy for my own little cluster of sidelines and for clients. Mostly advertorial, press release, promo stuff full of exuberant, over the top descriptions of ‘fantastic’ products and services. From there, I moved on to become the editor of two sites — Fashion Jewelry and Jewelry Collecting — for the second highest ranking women’s website (according to Alexa), Bella Online. It was a brilliant opportunity to work on my web writing skills and I do appreciate the experience, which by the way was what I was paid for my articles. But, I guess experience is worth its weight in gold!

Since 2010, I write for a mega media corporation, paid (not handsomely) per article with no quotas and access to thousands of titles. My favorite topic is, of course, animals and pets, ergo the snake and pet pieces I link to in my posts. My fascination with the animal kingdom never lets me down. I could write all day and all night about creatures, from single-celled protoplasms and invertebrates to whales and gorillas and canine nutrition or breeds of cats. This is the topic I am passionate about. I should have stayed in school and become a zoologist, biologist or caretaker at a wildlife sanctuary. Pooper scooper to chimpanzees, bottle-feeding mama to fuzzy white polar bear babies. Anything for the animals. My family knows my passion, think I’m half crazy for my dedication to furry, scaled and feathered beings, but they have learned to go along with me. You know how people act around crazies — just humor them and they won’t hurt you.

They’ve been treated to a glorious gourmet dinner served by an intrepid chef wearing a baby raccoon on her head and less than delighted one Christmas to find five giant, white Pekin ducks quacking away in my front porch, their new digs after a near mink attack in their outdoor barn. (I kept them inside for six months.) Christmas dinner served in the dining room adjacent to their impromptu duckhouse inspired some lively conversation, like my Dad suggesting we have duck for dinner soon. Then there was their supreme excitement when I presented Scamp — seen smiling in an earlier post today. I kept her in the bedroom one Christmas Eve waiting to surprise everyone with my gorgeous new pupper. My young niece was the only one who knew my secret. She could only say with that drama peculiar to teen girls, “Oh my God, wait till they see this!” It was the first inkling to me that my newest addition to the family, which already consisted of five dogs and six cats, would be met with horror and not unbridled joy. I trotted the pup out and sure enough, my surprise backfired. It was one restrained Christmas and Scamp kind of took the wind out of their holiday spirit sails. My daughter the hoarder…how revolting. Well, now I only have three dogs and lots of cats and three little birdies, so I’ve redeemed myself, I suppose.

But I digress — this last several weeks I’ve had what can only be called severe writer’s block, although this wordy post belies the disorder. It doesn’t help that my client has temporarily run out of animal articles. As fond as I am of writing about interior decorating, skin care and DIY crafts, dammit I want to write about those animals! I found the following article by Henri Junttila absolutely inspiring and wanted to keep it for posterity (as in recording it here in my online ‘journal’). I believe it speaks to more than writer’s block, but life block, too. If you don’t write, just sub in what you do, or more to the point, what you’re not doing, but should be doing. I found it entirely helpful on a few levels and it was nice to feel that common bond. Because, I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a funk, a slump, not up to my game…I tend to think it’s just me, and everyone else is doing swell. Now, there’s a word you don’t hear often — not ‘well’, but ‘swell’ .


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