The Rant has the dreaded block. We have written and erased enough words to fill a book, a very bad book, with a garish cover and an intro by a person you never heard of but gets paid to soldier on and feels the judicious use of exclamation points will get you to the finish line. There’s a mangled quote by a critic on the dust jacket with lots of ellipsis marks that indicates that maybe the book might be worth a look possibly. But probably not.
Perhaps the twelve days of Rantmas wasn’t such a wise idea. We overtaxed the muse–we could feel it around day nine–but nine isn’t twelve is it? And on we composed. Your lovely responses made it all worthwhile, gentle readers, but here we are in the desert without so much as a compound sentence to slake our thirst.
Every writer fears the block. Stories abound of lives ruined and opportunities missed. One of our professors suffered a breakdown in the throes of a block that would not permit her to finish her dissertation. Ralph Ellison never published another novel during his life after his stunning debut Invisible Man. Kurt Vonnegut once visited our campus in old age and laughed when someone asked what he was writing. That well was dry. And then he went on to produce several brilliant essays. One never knows about the block.
Writers like to discuss their craft in mystical and hushed tones. And discuss. And discuss. That’s the real purpose of a writers’ conference: an organized and formal excuse not to write under the pretense of improving your future writing. Writing is simply work. Pushing a tiny lawnmower around a giant expanse of grass as Amy Bloom so aptly describes it, but it’s also art, so that green better hold an intricate and breathtaking pattern upon completion. Good luck.
Like all art forms, bad writing can be accomplished so easily the hack wonders what all the fuss is about. And yes, The Rant believes that on occasion our writing rises to, if not Art, at least art, meaning we have created something with a shape and purpose in the best manner we can accomplish. We didn’t cheat or sell ourselves short or concern ourselves if anyone would ever read the product and that’s about all we can ask.
Like Dorothy Parker, having written is The Rant’s favorite part of writing. And if we have to write about not writing to get there, at least there’s something there on the page.