The above is a rhetorical question, of course, as nobody or nothing can account for the cause of the case of writer’s or blogger’s block that I’ve been battling this past week, and nothing but time and tenacity can cure it.
In the meantime I can always find some consolation of the proverbial ‘misery loves company’ variety in the thought that most would-be wordsmiths hit the wall every once in a while.
And every time, as I do, they freak-out at the thought of the fact that, while they’ve often beaten blocks before, this could be the final and fatal one.
For example, one of my favourite writers from back in the ‘sixties, Joan Didion, once wrote that whenever she found herself too witless to write she feared that she’d suffered a series of small strokes that had rendered her permanently aphasic, or lost for words.
And indeed this was the actual fate of another writer I’ve long tremendously admired, the scathing critic of US social and political fakery and flakery, H.L. Mencken, who actually did suffer a stroke from which he recovered all his faculties, except those of reading and writing.
A case of poetic justice, I suppose the many powerful enemies he’d made must have jeered, at least some of them, I hope, from the jail cells into which Mencken had helped put them.
But it was no joke for the man himself, or for any of his would-be literary emulators like myself who have reached an age of increasing risk that a stroke, senile dementia or some other cerebrocortical catastrophe will put not just a block but a big, black full-stop to our writing so-called careers.
So we, or at least I, always desperately cast around for some extraneous explanation for what I hope has not yet put the final full-stop to the life-sentence I’ve served and look forward to serving much more of as a writer, but has merely punctuated it, so to speak, with a comma.
But, as I still can’t help wondering, a comma caused by what? Too many self-inflicted train-of-thought-blocking flocking distractions, like surfing through the many frauds and fiends on Facebook to find and foster the precious few friendships I’ve found there?
Or is my Facebooking merely the final straw that’s been bringing my mind to blocking if not breaking point in the face of the overwhelming excess of political, commercial, criminal and personal fakery, flakery, flackery and other evils that the entire world is so evidently and increasingly full of?
Or, let’s face it, it may not be strangers or extraneous events or anything but my own state of mind that I have to blame for my writing and blogging blockery.
It could well be that I’m getting more age-addled, increasingly mind-boggled, or simply sick of the sight of my own words, the effort of putting them into some semblance of order and the ennui of endlessly sitting here tapping them out.
In other words, the problem could well simply be that though I’m a time-worn and weary old hack, and thus my future prospects as a writer or indeed anything else are increasingly bleak if not black, I’m hopelessly afflicted with a terminal mental block against facing the freaking fact.