Unlocking writers block – pharmaceutical edition

Last November, I suffered a heart attack (my second).  It was relatively mild compared to my first, back in 2009, but it was still disconcerting (to put it mildly!)  I was put on additional medications, on top of the multiple prescriptions I already take each day to deal with the consequences of a permanently disabling spinal injury I suffered in 2004.  The combination of old and new medications did a number on my ability to write creatively.  I could write bits and pieces, but I simply couldn’t wrap my mind about novel-length creativity.  Since I’m dependent on book income to help make ends meet, that wasn’t a good place to be.

I managed to produce a couple of short stories, and started three or four novels, but couldn’t get anything really productive done.  However, this month my medications went “back to normal” (for various and sundry definitions of normal).  That’s unleashed my mental creativity again – and brought with it some new problems.  I can now write at my formerly accustomed pace once more, but my mind is so full of ideas and concepts that I can’t get them all down at once.  I find myself writing one book, and simultaneously getting frustrated because I’m not working on the three other book ideas in my head!

I suppose I should be grateful I’m able to write again, and leave it at that.  Right now, I have half a dozen partly finished projects that are demanding my attention.  I’m concentrating on one, in the hope of getting it out soon.  My hopes for 2021 (God, health and US politics permitting) include up to 5 novels and 2 short stories, plus an omnibus edition of three earlier books, lightly revised to improve style and grammar.  It’ll be a very tall order to get all of them out, but I’ll do my best.

Thank you to all my readers and friends who’ve encouraged me during the “year that the swarming locust has eaten“.  I’ll try to get my own back by eating them during the coming year.  (Speaking as an African boy, I can assure you that locusts aren’t half bad.  There are many ways to cook them, although I’ve only had them dry-roasted over a fire and eaten with honey.  Just be sure to remove the spikes and barbs on their legs before you bite into them.  How do I know this?  Trust me.  I know this!)

14 thoughts on “Unlocking writers block – pharmaceutical edition

  1. That sounds like one of those dietary lessons one only has to learn once. Like removing allllllll the little prickles from a cactus pad or fruit, and always cooking cactus fruit before making fruit bars.

  2. I think you’ve done admirably well under difficult circumstances. Certainly better than I did; my writing doesn’t really take that much creativity.
    It’s a gonzo truth about some medications: they make it possible to live, while taking away the ability to do things that provide the incentive for doing so.
    I found a pearl, in the midst of the rancid oyster grit: what’s left when all is taken away is the purity of DUTY.
    Certainly, we can have duty to multiple causes, but our duty to live is a duty we owe to people we love. My loss of health, career, and family in 2007 frightened my adult daughter so much that she felt compelled to extract a promise that I wouldn’t self-terminate. It gave me a radiant duty to keep that promise, and having made it, I never sought out the darkest of places in my internal mud.
    Whether we have emerged (as you and I have), or not, I think the monument of duty, that we add to every day we bear the load, is most likely to result in hearing “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
    Maybe not. But I will hold on to that, until something better comes along.
    Peace be on your household.

    1. I don’t know why duty isn’t encouraged more in our culture. Duty gets things done. Dutiful people can be relied upon.

      On some days, duty is what keeps me going and avoiding the slough of despond.

      1. Because many people don’t want to get things done or be relied on. They think those two things are Other People’s Job.

        1. The disjoint between Rights and Responsibilities– with ‘duty’ being another way to describe that obligation– has filled a lot of papers, too.

          Folks arguing for Rights without Responsibilities are unlikely to support arguments from duty.

          1. KNOCK KNOCK!
            Who’s there?
            ICE IGUANA!
            Ice Iguana who?
            Ice iguana contemplate the possibility that a Right-Without-Responsibility exists, for a bit. I do not expect to find an example in nature, nor a successful example in the mental gymnastics of humans.

            I may be entirely off-base here, but I think that it was a great idea, but a social and political construct, for the Founders to write in the D-of-I that we are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights.
            Yes, I wish to ACT as if that were true, and I very much wish to encourage my government to stay back behind the (expletive deleted) LINE OF CONSTRAINT, drawn by this construct, but I don’t think those rights actually exist as unalienable rights.

            Where they exist at all, I think it’s because somewhere along the line, ladies and gentlemen wearing rough clothing, with grease ground into their knuckles, politely expressed in the most genteel of terms that they much preferred the tyrants depart the vicinity. And the precision of the logic, and the beauty of the language. prompted the despot to repent, and vacate the (expletive deleted) throne.
            If those tactics failed, artillery can be very persuasive as well, lending dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl.

            Oh, poot. I done got myself riled up.

            1. The Constitution’s talk of God-given, inalienable rights is a really good one– there, the obligation is simple, and obvious.
              If I have it, so does everyone else…..

  3. I did know eating locusts is a thing, but it tends to trigger poetry about a voice crying out in the wilderness, make way for the Lord, clear His paths!

    Not exactly high culinary praise. 😉

  4. Luckily I haven’t had to experience any of the meds attached to a heart attack. However my SCI has introduced me to lots of lovely meds, supposedly to manage my neurological pain, but they manage to make me very fuzzy. I’ve been successful in dropping one of them to the very minimum but the other one resulted in extreme tight muscles everywhere. I had to keep Taking that one. I haven’t attempted the challenging work of writing a book but I read a lot and try my best to keep my hand in data I am fuzzyness is not my friend. Best of luck in finding the right balance.

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