Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nowhere to Go

Well, I’m at a loss. For once, I’m speechless. Honestly I have no idea what to say. School has kinda taken over my life and as such I completely forgot it was my turn until 9:30 last night aka 2 ½ hours till post time. Then I sat until 11 PM writing nothing of value and I gave up. I figured a late post is better than a terrible post, so I decided to give it another day to come up with something half-decent. Therefore, for the first time in my illustrious blogging career, I have missed deadline. It sucks, yeah, but I’m a bit of a stickler for quality and I refuse to put something out that I wouldn’t enjoy reading myself. The problem with this whole arrangement is that I’ve let it sit until today and I’ve still got nothing. I’m not quite sure what to do at this point, and even though I’ve been here before so this isn’t a totally foreign situation to me, it’s not like I can just write the same thing again. However, what got me out of that jam last time was simply typing my thoughts until something made sense, so I tried the free-writing thing for a while earlier this morning. However, after having spent nearly two hours writing line after line of unintelligible garbage, I’ve just come to terms with the fact that I have one of the worst cases of writer’s block I’ve ever had. At this point, a day late and with no more options, I don’t have a clue. So it begs the question, what do you do when there’s nothing you can do?

This is a question I’m sure all of you have asked yourselves at least once. When you’re backed into a corner and it seems there’s no way out, there’s a fear that takes over that’s often paralyzing. The first reaction is often to avoid dealing with it; there’s some place in your mind that convinces you that if you don’t deal with it, it’ll just go away. However, the consequence of that response is one I know all too well. Just because you ignore it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, and in fact it almost always makes it worse. However, regardless of the logical nonsense of that mentality, it still caused some major problems in my life, the foremost being my bombing my second semester of college because I figured that I could just ignore my final papers and everything would be fine in the end. Yeah right.

The responses that generally follow are misguided rationalizations and excuse making. In my mind, that stuff just shows a lack of respect for the other person or for yourself, if it’s you that you’re accountable to. In the end, we all know they’re baloney.

Outright lies tend to come next. This is bad for two reasons. First, it always ALWAYS catches up to you, and when it does it’ll kick you in the teeth much harder than simply owning up to your situation. Secondly, think of what lying to someone’s face does to you as a person, and every time you do it, it gets easier. In addition, imagine being so paranoid all the time because you have a cover story to keep and you need to make sure it holds up or people will figure you out, god forbid.

Really, all of these gut reactions are problematic and the one I’ve adopted now actually stemmed from the last time I had writer’s block this bad. In my first semester of college, I took the hardest class I’ve ever taken: Freshmen Honors Writing Seminar I. I had to write five essays for that class, the fourth of which gave me some serious trouble. After spending two weeks writing something I considered my worst literary offering ever, I called my professor and scheduled a meeting with her for the day before it was due. At said meeting, I had her read my essay and then, when she affirmed that it was in fact quite awful, I threw myself at her feet (figuratively) and begged for mercy (literally). I was completely stumped and had no idea what to do, so I asked for her advice and an extension, both of which, to my great surprise, she gave me. I spent the next 48 hours retooling the whole thing and turned it into my best offering of the semester in any of my classes.

The moral of this story is pretty self-explanatory: when you don’t know what to do, do two things: be honest and pray. If you rationalize and delude yourself into thinking you’re in the clear then you won’t accomplish anything, so the first step is to figure out where you are and how you got there. What’s that they say? The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one. Secondly, in a situation where there’s no hishtadlut for you to do anymore, throw your hands up and pray to God. If you truly believe the Hashem runs the world, then there’s really nothing more powerful than putting yourself at his mercy.

In this instance however, I’m not answerable to Hashem per se, but rather to my fellow bloggers and our dedicated readers, and so I apologize for my lateness; it was my bad, and it won’t happen again. Now put the torches and pitchforks down and get off my lawn if you don’t mind.

Song of the Day: Drained – James LaBrie

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