The Black Funk Appreciated

storm clouds 3The Black Funk I wrote about last week lays in the past, the emotional distress and accompanying anguish vague like a shuddering nightmare whose intensity fades with the passing day. As you may have noticed, I am an analytical sort, my mind always active with thoughts of the why’s and what if’s of life; questioning works well for my writing.

Looking back, I realize it was necessary to fall into that black pit, struggle to climb out, because only then could I realize the exhilaration of freedom—freedom and knowledge that writing is as much a part of me as the blood pulsing through my veins and the skin encompassing this body I call me.

Contemplating the time I journeyed through the hopelessness, one heavy step followed by one increasingly heavier, I have come to realize that I needed to be purged.

An instance with my new puppy demonstrated the need for the purging.

While I stayed home to write, my wife took Rushka on a hike to a field that had been recently bull-dozed, leaving the bodies of many rodents trapped by the metal Death-Bringer. Rushka found one and promptly ate it.

Once home, using a bulb syringe and hydrogen peroxide, we induced her to vomit—we didn’t want her sick from the rotting flesh. Within five minutes, she threw up everything, purged of the carrion.

The Black Funk did for me what the peroxide did for our puppy: purged the stale, made me vomit the rotting and the trite; I was left renewed and refreshed, but more importantly, I regained hope. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove ourselves from the inner trauma, the drama, so that we can start anew—the reason for the storm I know as the Black Funk.

All writers experience life’s highs and lows, the ebbs and flows. And as writers, our makeup dictates that we must write about the experiences, reach deep inside our psyche and pull forth what is difficult to reveal but must be shared. Only then can we understand not only ourselves, but the greater scope of humanity; being sensitive to the nuances of life, the pain and the joy, so that we may show others that they are not alone. I was reminded that, as writers, we are not alone in trials gripping us in a vice-like hold, the thus, the reason I started The Knights of Writ blog.

Writers, perhaps more than any of the creative endeavors, are a solitary breed. How often do we tuck into a corner, the light from the monitor our only illumination? To be a writer is, many times, to feel alone, but we are not. Hug that knowledge like an old friend, and share with your fellow writers here so that they may sense the comfort.

Take hold of one you love before you sit down to write, but write nonetheless.


This Week’s Quote:
“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.” Norbet Platt


A New Puppy, Lies, and the Black Funk

100_5967First, an apology for being remiss in my lack of recent posts (and a deep, heartfelt Thank You to those who posted or emailed me to check and make sure I am okay). My wife and I brought home a new puppy, and as anybody who has raised a puppy knows, the little darlings can be a handful—in some cases, I found I do not have enough hands for the rambunctious addition to our family.

That is how I was going to begin this post. It is a lie. Not the part about having a new puppy–see photo of Rushka above—and all the attention she requires, but about her being the cause of my writing drought.

Truth is, I am not impervious to the Black Funk that grips all writers at one time or another. The last two months have been a dark journey into an abyss where desire dwindled to apathy, the loss of word-pictures sliding from mind to finger-tips, and thus, a document. Forward movement lost. Starts and stops, mostly stops.

Soul-searching is good for the . . . well, the soul, and I delved into the deeper recesses layered with complacency, things commonplace like a favorite winter coat forgotten during the dog-days of summer. And I did not like who I was. Not writing did that to me, made me a negative, or worse, of no consequence. Being of no consequence to one’s self is an odd sensation.

I spent days working, just “going through the motions,” and that description flowed into all aspects of my daily life, making me miserable. It dawned on me: not writing made me a different person, one I would not choose to befriend or even be around if I could help it. I couldn’t help it. No matter how much I wanted to get out of my skin—but mostly out of my brain—the more deeply I became entrenched. It reminds of me of climbing up a muddy hill.

Simply, writing comes down to choice. I made my choice, and by so doing, realized (once again) that I cannot not write. It took the Black Funk to impress upon me the joy of creation, of writing—simple and true. And I realized something else—it is okay to not write. Though I do not recommend a long term hiatus like I chose, a little time off can rejuvenate the creative spirit and help the writer approach the craft with a new and invigorated attitude. Lack of writing helped me appreciate my choice of endeavors, like a long-lost love rekindled.

So, if you feel your writing (or desire) going stale, give yourself a day or a weekend off, and don’t beat yourself up. It is okay. Go for a hike or a bike ride, or anything that you enjoy. If writing is a true love, it will return, and you might find the passion even stronger.

Have you ever slid into the Black Funk? How did you overcome it? Your friends here would like to know; don’t worry, we all understand the trials of writing, and we can all use a reminder that we are not alone in our journey through the swamp.


This Week’s Quote:

“The writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratification, is a curious anticlimax.” Alfred Kazin, Think, February 1963