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Around the Block

As a free public service to bloggers and writers, I am extending an invitation to begin the year by confessing your darkest reasons for succumbing to writer’s block.

Here is a list of who I blame, I mean... a list of my own pathetic excuses:

1. Mom took drugs. Okay, only during labor and delivery, but at least one of the cc’s went straight to the part of my brain where coherent sentences are pieced together. Smthng’s mssng.

2. The Feds censored me. Too many government forms contain the words “Do not write in this space.” This has always bugged me. What do they do with that space anyway, and why can't I write in it? I’ve considered organizing my own IRS-gate break-in, complete with flashlights and miniature cameras to solve this mystery. The subliminal and insidious message is that white space is sacred, off-limits, and inviolable.

3. I respect white space. Once written on, a blank page is no longer a blank page. A blank page has all the promise and possibility of Wildeian wit, Lewisian logic, and Tolkienian trilogies. But once writing begins, the sad truth emerges.

I could go on. Or maybe not.

So I hereby make these rebuttals to my own whining...

1. If something is missing, who’s to say it isn't just the boring parts?

2. If white space is sacred, it is sacred only because it provides an opportunity for new ideas, imagination, and creation.

3. If it is sad truth that emerges, there is still something to be said for any truth at all emerging.

What are your excuses, and better yet, what is your plan for a more prolific 2005?

January 4, 2005 | Permalink


The year was 1954. Medicine was a bit more primitive than it is today. The woman who was to be my mother wasn't feeling well and went in to see the doctor. Based on her symptoms and complaints, he feard the worst--a tumor in her mid-section.

The doc sprang into action and had her X-rayed immediately. When the results came back he approached my mother sheepishly. Turns out he was wrong. She did not have a tumor. She was pregnant. With me.



Of course he apologized. In those days you didn't sue doctors or my name might be synonamous with wealth and fame. Or at least on the registration of something more current than a 1987 Toyota minivan.

Yes, I was born with a built-in excuse . . . for everything. The reason I am not responsible for my very strange sense of humor, the fact that I procrastinate as a writer or just about any other deficient behavior is that I can't help it.

is that I am possibly the only person living who was diagnosed as a tumor and x-rayed in the womb.

That's my story and i'm sticking to it.

Posted by: Michael O'Connor on Jan 5, 2005 2:58:06 AM

Great looking blog!

Posted by: LB on Jan 5, 2005 8:08:33 PM

Michael- Very funny! I passed on your story here - http://jacobswellchurch.org/tim/archives/001162.html - where my son's pastor was giving him a hard time for not blogging.

La Shawn- Thanks so much! Katy (fallible) and I are your adoring fans.

Posted by: Doug on Jan 5, 2005 10:05:46 PM

Though barely literate, I can recognize a cool site. I feel a writer's block creeping up on me as I read this thing.

I will be back often. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Nickie Goomba on Jan 6, 2005 11:01:55 PM

Nickie-I don't detect any problem with writer's block at your very fun site. I could use some of your prolificity! Thanks for the encouragement.

Posted by: Doug on Jan 7, 2005 7:21:28 AM

I feel the exact same way about blank white paper. I think that's partially the reason I bought a laptop, but it didn't help because blank space is blank space right?

Posted by: Lynne on Jan 15, 2005 9:07:48 AM

Lynne-maybe someone should create a word processor with a button that randomly adds sentences to a page just to make us more comfortable. I enjoyed your stories at americaninjapan.

Posted by: Doug on Jan 15, 2005 9:58:27 AM

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