Saturday, October 8, 2011


Call me Blockhead.

It’s not my real name.  I don’t have a real name.  I get called plenty of other names, always by frustrated writers thinking I’m the enemy I’m not.  Just about all those other names are unprintable in a family-friendly blog like this one, though.  So we’ll keep it clean, and go with Blockhead.

You can’t understand me, unless you understand writers.  I understand writers.  I spend a lot of time tormenting them.  I torment them, because I respect them.  Sure, I delight in agonizing writers, but I know without them I wouldn’t exist.  And without me, they wouldn’t write as well they can.  We need each other.  Of course it’s twisted and codependent.  However, unlike other spheres of human endeavor, in the arts twisted and codependent often produce stellar results. 

I understand writers, but they usually misunderstand me.  There’s no number high enough to count the times I’ve been damned as an unfeeling and unyielding monster, content to sup on the misery of a writer stuck for a word or a plot twist or even an entire storyline.  Unfairly cursed, I hasten to add.  I do what I do out of love for literature, and the literate.  All the bedeviling I do is with clearest conscience and purest heart.

Look, to me, writers are superheroes.  They willingly confront a barren page and out of nothing more than their inherent creative powers concoct memorable characters and compelling stories in places familiar or strange to amuse, inform or shock us.

Think about it.  Leaping over skyscrapers and running faster than a speeding bullet are astounding feats, no doubt.  So is dressing like a giant bat and ridding our streets of psychopaths.  Yet even those superpowers are unimpressive next to the indefinable creative brawn necessary to wrench Superman and Batman from sheer nothingness and propel them to global sociocultural immortality.

Still, what is Superman without Lex Luthor?  What is Batman without the Joker?  Inarguably detestable as Luthor and the Joker are, they are the indispensable nemeses that make Superman and Batman worth embracing.  Without their supervillainous banes, these superheroes would have no reason to be either super, or heroic.

Enter Blockhead.  My writers are superheroes.  I am their supervillain.  They struggle mightily to create.  I use my power of writer’s block to stop them at every turn.  True, I can be a tad sadistic from time to time, and I can’t recall ever being accused of understaying my welcome.  To write their best my writers have to battle me knowing I never fight fair.  When they persevere and overcome every obstacle I hurl at them, their writing is sharp, clear and far more worthy of reading than had I failed to make them suffer and sweat.  I’m not their enemy.  I’m their ally.  I just don’t dress the part too well, and my P.R. team does an abysmal job trumpeting my invaluable contributions to authorial achievement.

Call me Blockhead.  Or call me those other words unfound in respectable dictionaries.  Sticks and stones.  The only way a writer can hurt me, is to let me win.

 "Plumbers don't get plumber's block, and doctors don't get doctor's block; 
why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working,
and then expects sympathy for it?"
 ~~ Philip Pullman ~~

1 comment:

  1. This is a cleverly written article that reminds me what writers are doing. It's also pretty nice to be considered a superhero. A friend said recently that writers make a story out of nothing and I hadn't thought about it that way, but it's true. Richard Gazala says it, too.

    Our nemesis is when the story drops into nothingness. These days I'm looking for a conflict between a hero and a heroine, one they have to overcome in order to continue on and fall in love. How hard can finding that conflict be? BIIIIG, let me tell you.