Silences

My first story for the MFA program is due at the end of next week. At the end of my two-hour writing session this morning I had absolutely nothing. I was scared, frustrated. I didn’t know what to do. In workshops and seminars we had spoken about silences (a term used in place of writer’s block). I hadn’t experienced one in a long time. I have always been full of ideas. Today I was silent. I was stuck.

The truth is that I did have an idea but every angle I looked at it from seemed to be more ridiculous than the last one. There’s this horrible scene, a hate crime that I can’t even believe I imagined, and I want to get to that scene. I thought I had the pieces in place. When I went off to work this morning I was no longer so sure.

It plagued me while I was supposed to be editing copy for a web page at work. Those thoughts, combined with all of the phone calls and meetings going on around me, were driving me insane. I locked myself in one of our classrooms to get some quiet, some peace. In the solitude I finally had some ideas for the piece I was editing for work. And suddenly, things started to click in my brain when it came to my story, too.

I tore off a sheet of paper and the words came flooding out, a great, vivid description of the train tracks that used to run through Chelmsford, tracks I used to walk as a kid. This was my setting. I had to ground the characters, put them into a reality. Now they could go places. Now they could grow angry, hostile, commit the heinous act I’d envisioned.

We’ll see how it all turns out tomorrow morning when I sit down to write again. I haven’t been too confident tonight. I’ve actually been downright depressed about it. Despite the writing I did today, I’m not sure I’m going to get anywhere with it. My only hope is that the fear and the depression have not paralyzed me so much that I can’t even get up to function tomorrow.