Writer, eclipsed.

I started this villanelle ages back – so long back I can’t quite recall when, except that it was the last time there was a partial lunar eclipse visible in this part of the world. That’s pretty clear from the subject matter. I got stuck, abandoned it, found the fragment recently and forced it to a finish.

The moon was full tonight.
As it rose above the hill,
The shadow ate its light.

We crooked our fingers tight
To guard against ill-will.
The moon was full tonight,

Our way lay, plain in sight,
An easy path, until
The shadow ate its light

’Twixt dog and wolf. A bite
Consumed and ate its fill.
The moon was full tonight;

As fear faint hearts can blight,
As hate bright hopes can kill,
The shadow ate its light.

No mercy for our plight,
No succour, no goodwill.
The moon was full tonight.
The shadow ate its light.

I know I’ve not written anything here lately. Here, or anywhere else. Truth is, I’m blocked. Blocked for new writing, blocked for revision (my WIP is in pieces and I don’t know how to put them together again; as I pulled on one thread, the whole unravelled, if you’ll pardon the mixing of metaphors.), blocked for poetry, blocked on trying to promote the books I’ve written.

Oh, I’ve tried many of the obvious tricks for unblocking writing – prompts, free association, retelling favourite stories, describing a person, place or thing – but so far they’ve got me nowhere. Writers write, they say. Right now, I can’t. I can, it seems, write sentences, even scenes, but not produce a coherent story with a beginning, middle and end. It’s exceedingly frustrating. If I have an idea, it dries up in the space between thought and page/screen. Nothing lasts. Even if I’m only writing to please myself, the stuff I produce doesn’t please me and ends up being abandoned, like the moon villanelle.

Well, I suppose that got finished eventually. Maybe there’s hope for poor Ardùvai and all his friends and enemies yet. Cross your fingers.

This entry was posted in personal opinion, rant;, thoughts, verse, villanelle, work in progress and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Writer, eclipsed.

  1. Why did you unpick what didn’t need unpicking? Maybe you’ve got yourself too tangled up in the endless possibilities and loose ends you’ve produced and have lost sight of where you wanted the story to go.

    • The short answer is the loose thread was the dreams. The longer answer is I know where the story goes – the last third is fine – but getting it there, after deciding the balance of the original beginning was off, is what’s causing the grief. One change led on to inevitable others and now it’s simply not coming together because no one’s behaviour seems rational any more. They’re puppets and the strings are showing. I’m starting to think this book may never be completed, despite greater effort from me and greater input from others, including you, of course, than anything that came before it.

  2. Ritchie Smith says:

    Hello Harriet. – We all have good days and bad days and indifferent days. I wouldn’t worry too much if it’s fairly short term. Otherwise – maybe try some very different holiday or something? (I’m just back from Morocco and pretty revitalized…)



  3. Colin Smith says:

    My sympathies. Maybe don’t set any goal or standards for what you’re writing. I note you are not completely blocked, just that narrative eludes you. That’s the aspect of writing I pay least attention to while writing, preferring character development and other concerns. Yes, I have an overall narrative arc but within that arc is immense flexibility. Okay, that approach can result in novels that are ridiculously long, but in your situation maybe just ignore the idea of creating narratives for a while.

    If you want to share the particular narrative difficulties with your WIP I’m happy to offer what help I can.

  4. calmgrove says:

    Perhaps writing about it, and letting those thoughts wonder where they will — whether to related matters, or off at some tangent — may help, the way they say sleep on it, or go for a walk, or even take a foreign holiday, so as to free your mind from the apparent rut it has found itself in. It worked for the eclipse piece, it may work for the prose too. Good luck, anyway!

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