I sat there, fingers poised over the keyboard and nudged my brain, “C’mon. Let’s go.”
“Go where?” my brain asked sleepily.
“We need to write another blog post,” I told it.
“You do it,” my brain said. “I’m tapped.”
“What do you mean tapped?” I asked.
“Dude, I totally blew my wad on those last two posts,” it said. “Does the term refractory period mean nothing to you?”
“What?” I cried. “Are you kidding? I can’t do this alone!”
“Maybe if you made me a sandwich …” my brain offered, it’s voice trailing off.
“No!” I said. “No sandwiches! We need to write. Both of us. Together!”
But it was no use. My brain was lying there, limp and flaccid, snoring softly.
I started to panic. I willed myself to come up with something for a new post and drew only blanks, or ideas I immediately dismissed as not good enough. I thought of the new followers I’d gained and the comments I’d received … people congratulating me on being Freshly Pressed, saying how what I’d written had made them laugh and that they looked forward to reading more.
What if what I wrote next wasn’t funny enough? Would they think my Freshly Pressed post had been a fluke? Was I someone who came back after a months-long hiatus and just got lucky? I’ve never been a consistent blogger. My writing is as bipolar as I am and ideas come to me in fits and starts. Sometimes I’ll go on a tear, creativity swirling, thoughts bubbling, words flowing with ease – I’m in the zone. And then there are times when I dry up or something happens in my life, like when I had a cancer scare back in November, and it gets in the way of my writing.
I’m fine, by the way … nothing to worry your pretty little heads about. In the end, it was fairly minor as far as cancers go, just not something I wanted to write about because cancer is kind of a buzzkill. I tried to write about other stuff, but every time I thought I had a good idea my brain would go, “Hey! Don’t forget to mention you might have cancer,” or “That’s funny! I bet you could make it even funnier if you weren’t so worried about having cancer.” I tried employing the parenting tool called Distract & Redirect which says you can get a child to stop engaging in unacceptable behavior by first distracting him and then redirecting his attention toward something more positive. My brain’s response to this, however, was usually along the lines of, “Stop distracting me! I might forget to remind you that you could have cancer!” It was a losing battle.
What I’m feeling now isn’t entirely new to me. Amongst the people that I know and with whom I’m comfortable, I feel relaxed and can be quite witty. However, I am by no means one who is terribly at ease in social settings, the butterfly who flits from group to group, pollinating them with my sparkling repartee. Thrust me into a room full of strangers and I will seize like an old transmission on a steep hill. I need time to hang back, assess the situation and warm up. This does not, however, stop people – people who profess to love and care for me – from dragging me up to a group of folks I’ve never met and saying, “This is Lesbiana. You’ll love her, she’s hysterical!”
I know they mean well and I know they’re being complimentary, but what they fail to realize is that when these nice, new people turn to me and in their eyes I see the expectation that I will be funny, my brain goes into a state of humor-dormancy where it will usually stay for the remainder of the evening. I don’t do jokes, I can’t be funny on command and I choke under pressure.
I admire people who blog with regularity, those who have something interesting to share every few days. I find it hard to write unless I’m inspired and difficult to feel inspired when I’m having a nervous breakdown. It makes me think of the Zen riddle, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” The sound is this — one hand, my desire to write, hanging silently in the air while my other hand, the hand of inspiration, remains tied behind my back by my Freshly Pressed performance anxiety. And what it looks like is me hyperventilating into a paper bag as I stare at a blank screen, unable to write because I’ve just been introduced to a bunch of nice, new bloggy people who may be expecting certain things of me, and that has resulted in my brain going into a deep hibernation.
I’m sure I’m not the first Freshly Pressed blogger this has happened to. At least, I hope not … how embarrassing would that be? Probably not the best thing to be thinking about under the current circumstances, is it? Anyway, all I ask is that you please bear with me — I’m taking deep breaths, trying to relax and talking to myself in hushed, soothing tones. I know I’ll get through this and my brain will once again be able to sustain the raging blogger-boner you’ve come to know and love. But at the moment, I feel like I’m the recipient of my own rousing one-handed standing ovation and I just need a little time to compose myself.