I sometimes think that by sharing the process of trying to get one word after another out of me that I’m creating something interesting in my blog. I’m chronicling what it is to write. And above all, writing is simply about writing.
It can be so horrible sometimes, because it’s not just about finding the time. I do, in fact, find that time, but so often, I spend that time thinking about how I have nothing to write about. I sit there, the minutes of my allocated writing time clicking away, and look for inspiration.
Inspiration often feels like this treasure filled ship, and when it’s not there during my allotted writing time, I feel as if I’m just standing there on the port, waiting, hoping that something will come my way. Often, it doesn’t, but now, finally, I do something I’ve never done before: I practice unloading the ship, even if the ship is no where to be found.
In other words, I write anyway.
Many years ago, I was flipping though a book of aphorisms, and one of them said “when your ship comes in, make sure that you can unload it.” The aphorism stuck with me, because it made me think of all the times that many ships have indeed come in, and I just haven’t been in the mood to go up to the port and see what’s inside.
Often, in the past, ships came in full of wonderful things to do with the day. I was often too busy shut up inside my apartment, flipping through channels and bewailing the fact that no ships were coming in. I see myself back then, writing essays for self published newspapers about how the port was bereft of ships, unable to see, out of the windows that I had blacked out, that people were at the dock hanging out, firing up barbecues, and throwing frisbees, all of them throwing parties to celebrate all the things that they could unload from the fleet of ships that had come in with countless treasures.
Then, when I found out the about day before, I would hole up yet again, writing essays about how I missed my chance to unload those ships, which of course meant that I once again was not outside by the port. This in turn led to my writing about how, during these times, I spent my time missing these opportunities because I was too busy writing about how I’d missed my chance to unload treasure from many, many ships. Soon, I was no longer in the shape to unload ships anyway, because I had spent way too much time in my apartment, eating nachos, watching reality television, and bewailing the fact that there weren’t even any more docks in the world.
Most painful of all, however, were the days that I showed up at the port, but just didn't have the physical, mental, or emotional strength to unload those ships.
So what I do now is take a daily walk to the port, and even if there’s nothing there, I still work on unloading ships. Often, there may very well be no ship that’s come into port—there seemed to be so many more of them in my college days—but perhaps, every so often, there will be. Therefore, I write and play my guitar, even on those days that it just doesn’t feel like I’m doing very much, because on those days that I’m fortunate enough to get a bit of inspiration, I want to have the tools to take advantage of it, and unload whatever happens to be in the craft that has chosen to stop by that day.