By Rebecca T. Dickinson
In the winter, I miss the fresh markets. The little market up the road from my home closes in December. It is rare to see snow cover the area where I live unless it is a cold winter like 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. A small part of me grieves for the empty, drab market. It is located on the corner, but looks more like a girl in a pale, thrift store dress waiting for the boy to ask her to dance. Crates shout for freshness and color; an escape from its damp, brown existence.
Winter also comes for the writer. A season chills the fingers. The brain and the keyboard disconnect. Work drives a person crazy, reading for a class piles up, or the baby bangs his book on the table and wants his parent to show him the pictures. At times a writer does not know why words freeze.
In Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, he wrote about how tough it was to find time to write with two young children and a limited budget of time and money. He wrote while he waited for laundry to finish. Even if he did not think it was the springtime of his creativity, he composed something.
Not every writer is that way. Some writers need time away from the world where children are pulling on their arm; college friends are ready to go out to a bar; or the chatter of colleagues at the lunch table. Words become like cats behind the couch. The can be lovable pet comes out from behind the couch when all the noises are gone. Uproars of the mind also disrupt the possible kaleidoscope of colors we as writers might create with just a few presses on the keypad or jot of a pen. The pen stands up straight and does not move. It waits and waits for something to pop.
When a white wine sauce simmers just right, I like to add cherry tomatoes. I dislike tomatoes by themselves, but the sauce fills the round, red beauties with taste. They pop in the mouth. A flood of flavors invades the tongue. I believe an author searches for the same result in a sentence, a character, or word.
I’ve often heard others, myself included, blame writer’s block. I’m not sure what my feelings are about the subject, but I know insecure moments fight with creativity. Those times question our abilities or stories. Uncertainty drills itself into the mind like a head cold. Drums of a foreign nation beat against the walls of the forehead.
One of the keys to fighting the beast, I believe, is to stop trying to look through the fog.
Fog clouds a space. The writer wants to paint their work full of yellows and reds. It feels like those colors hold out on the writer. It is waiting for spring. The soil that grows plants and vegetables is still in place during winter. As writers, we have the option to dig into the soil, plant the seeds, go back to basics, and rediscover how to make a work significant. All the sudden, the bin at the fresh market is not a wasted space. It is the container to hold the creations of a writer’s mind.
Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft