I’d hit something of a dry spell. It had been a couple months since I’d written anything I thought had some real legs on it. I know some people might say that’s not such a big deal since I had been going strong for the better part of a year, with plenty of quality freelance work and new story ideas, but I approach the sudden drop in work the same way I’d imagine a particularly industrious hooker might.
I guess I know what the problem is. I’d, pretty much, stopped reading. I was engrossed in watching shows I’ve seen already, shows that aren’t even very good (have you been watching this season’s The Office? Because it’s just the worst). During those months of solid writing, heretofore referred to as “the streak,” I was reading everything all the time. Esquire. The New Yorker. John McPhee collections. David Foster Wallace when I could psych myself up and think dude you’re totally smart enough to read this.
Well I’d like to announce I think I’m coming out of my slump. In this year’s Christmas haul I received A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, a fellow Drake University graduate and appreciator of calling people slurry names that end in -baby. It’s incredible, inspiring, and a strong example of what I’d like to be doing with my time as I grow older and beardier. But I can be more specific about the inspiration. Just a few words, nary an inch of ink:
“So what’s your sign?” said Mary Ellen.
“Cunnilingus,” Katz answered and looked profoundly unhappy.
I’m sure a 14-year-old boy would have appreciated that just the same. But, lying there in bed, hood pulled low and calf-height wool socks lovingly cuddling my feet, I let out a “Ha!” that sounded as if the “H” were made of silly putty and I’d stretched it so long its other leg were wrapped somewhere around the night stand. It came from so low in my gut that it’d been having a cheery conversation with my bladder before being called in for duty. It was a really good ha.
It’s weird how inspiration works. Little things like that trigger weird emotions, epiphanatical whatamIdoingwithmylife moments that, if acted on, can turn out really well. Or they can just turn into me trying to find Bryson’s email address and letting him know, more or less, the contents of this post. Which I’m currently doing.
But the important part is that something has been activated inside me, and like any other virus, will hopefully spread further into my system and not just get peed out.
Because I drank a lot of water today, and now I’m kind of regretting it.