Are you afflicted with weakness of will, writer?
Do you sometimes suffer the malady of acedia?
What can remedy the bind of listlessness when there is only the want of energy?
Baudelaire suffered acedia. In his journal he wrote,
“In putting off what one has to do, one runs the risk of never being able to do it. In refusing instant conversion one risks damnation.
To heal all things, wretchedness, disease or melancholy, absolutely nothing is required but an inclination for work.”
Can you muster an inclination, writer?
Trust me; it will be enough.
For the wounded normally fall in the direction of their wound: the blood spurts out towards the source of the blow; and the enemy who delivered it, if he is fighting at close quarters, is bespattered by the crimson stream. So, when a man is pierced by the shafts of Venus, whether they are launched by a lad with womanish limbs or a woman radiating love from her whole body, he strives towards the source of the wound… His speechless yearning is a presentiment of bliss.
Sensation and Sex
To cast a phenomenon as ineffable is effortless but is that you, writer, hiding from your hard work of bringing to words? Do you lay deceit upon your less than best so that you may settle? What labours allow you to articulate the speechless of being?
The experience of writer’s block, the experience of being powerless to write, coerces the writer to alter their bonds to the world and her things, including the bond between writer and self. This pursuit can initiate both understanding and frustration. Within each is the power to write.
Before breakthrough there must be blockage.
The subjunctive mood is where we can imagine and articulate possibilities. It is how we can think and express other worlds, other systems, other politics, other structures. It is the part of language devoted to speaking our desires, wishes and dreams as things in themselves.
A language strong in subjunctive mood permits exchanges about experiences such as serendipity, intuition and premonition without slaughtering the experience through explanation and rationalisation. A complex subjunctive mood language creates a world before the corruptions of the -ologies (psychology, sociology and so forth). Yet, while the subjunctive mood is a frequent state in our actual living, it is not well tolerated when we write prose and fiction in English.
This is a problem.
We are living, and we are being, yet we have let our language slip and harden into structures of fact and reason. We have fixed ourselves to what is, not what can be.
On 19 September falls ‘Talk Like a Pirate’ day. Around the world women and men resurrect the world of Treasure Island in their everyday observations and conversations. Perhaps, in years to come, we will celebrate ‘Talk in the Subjunctive Mood’ day.
Is there reasoning in our idea of writer’s block?
- The writer has a tendency to write. Tendency is a union of desire (I want to) and capacity (I can).
- This tendency is visible in writing-process behaviour. E.g., constructing sentences, shaping notes into logical paragraphs, correcting draft work and so forth.
- Writing-process behaviours often, eventually, produce a consequence such as a publishable text, a novel, a poem, a letter, a journal.
- Writer’s block is presence of  and the absence of ,  and/or .
If  is not present, writer’s block cannot be present.
Is there a conflict with the idea of writer’s block and the presence of capacity, the I-can-ness, of writing as an activity? Isn’t writer’s block a lack of capacity; an experience of I-cannot-ness?
Yet, if we remove capacity from  does that mean desire unfulfilled completes the picture of writer’s block? Could we say an oak tree has writer’s block if she desires to write but cannot?
Are there grades of capacity? Should we say that the capacity in  has been diminished in certain respects? I.e., the writer retains some capacities such as holding a pencil and directing language yet tacit elements of writing as an activity will not open or yield fruit.
Under what circumstances can capacity become and incapacity? Or is it that capacities can become dull?