Whoever came up with that unprecedented Nike catch phrase must have referred to writer’s block. I’m no writer, not by any stretch of the imagination. And if you were my keyboard you would know that as I was typing the word writer, I did in fact accidentally, or Freudiadentally type right, as I am so often wrong. And then, er, backspaced and you see the result on the page, innocently hiding my glitch. Thank you Mr Gates et al.
Perhaps this is because the word writer is –oops it nearly happened again – such a holy word to me. The holiest of the holy professions. The highest calling in humanity’s higher callings. I know this because I, my friends, am a reader. If anything in my life truly defines me it is that. I read. I love reading more than anything and if I could make a living just reading, oh, a good living it would be. Of course I’d be a readaholic, but who cares, of all the holics, I’m sure it’s the best. Books, ah, they are my great love, and nothing shall come between us. Not my husband, not even my cats. It is what I would list at the very top of my list of favourite things, then I’d have to sigh and smile and think for a very long time before I could come up with a second item. I was going to say a number two, but I’m such a lady.
Of course, my devoted reverence of writers does not stretch as far as all books ever written or published or all those who claim to be writers. It is just like God instructs us in Exodus, I am the Lord your God…you shall have no other gods…you shall not bow down to them or serve them… Writers are the chosen ones. And while God created many writers – thanks to Him for that, only one would have been a little boring – He did not create them all equal and He may have created some who were actually meant to be postmen or butchers but instead hold some misguided belief that they should embark on arranging words beyond a shopping list, which is perhaps where they should have left it.
Once I attended a course. I’m battling to find the right words. It could probably be best described as a furtherance of rudimentary office skills course, presented by a semi-professional with an opinion on, but no personal evidence of good business practice. The presenter, to illustrate the importance of goal setting, suggested “writing another book” as a goal on her to do list. I gasped. A writer! Oh the luxury of it, the bliss of being a chosen one, the great blessing of all blessings. Alas, no, she was referring to her 20-page A5 MS Word DIY illustrated notebook thingie that we received in our handouts. Something only EL James could consider a literary accomplishment. I sneered silently, but I was also a bit relieved. At least I wasn’t in the presence of such greatness while knowing that I am rather more like an unchosen one.
Anyway, thus commanded, I do not bow down and serve lesser writers who should have been postmen. But oh my I bow before the good ones. And if I were to sing praise to those I love we could be here all day. Weeks, in fact, which is ironic, because I find writing so tiresome. So very difficult. It is worse than constipation. After neurosurgery and far too many opioid analgesics. It is true, that is the worst kind, but I digress.
Writing for me, except those shopping lists, which I am really, really good at, is the most uncomfortable of discomforts. Yet sometimes I feel the urge. I try an ignore it and tell myself, oh just think it over, something will come and then you will want to write it down. I procrastinate. Perhaps if I think some more it will come. It never comes.
Oh how hard must it be for real writers? Unless you do it. It just doesn’t. So even in my most humble and insignificant of experiences, a simple reader, Nike’s words, Just do it, are the wisest, best advice. Just three words. One of them even has four letters! And that beautiful tick logo thing, which appeals especially to auditors and teachers, is in fact called a Swoosh. What a lovely word! It was designed in 1971, the year of my birth. Are you getting the sense of destiny here?
And there, almost by accident, my journal has a new entry. Thank you Nike, goddess of victory. Word by word, perhaps we can defeat that demonic doubt after all.
Annette Pfeiffer, Tuesday, 26 May, Lunch time journal.