Harlems Awakening Inspiration My Life

Writing About What I Can’t Write About

I haven’t been able to write my blog lately. It is really eating me up. I put it on my To-Do list. I look at it listed there in bright pink ink written with my special Stabilo pen. I even got a new “Professional” Moleskin planner, spent something like $30 on it so I would use it and write my things to do and then subsequently do them. And with this task? I just haven’t.

Today, while listening to a beautiful talk with poet David Whyte, he offered some advice, “Write about what you can’t write about.”

Ok: I can’t seem to focus and write about all the things that are interesting and fun that have happened. Like our trip to Paris. Or our trip to New Mexico. Or gardening and growing an amazing sunflower and then watching it die. Or the doves that nested on a shelf in our back yard and hatched two babies…and how one fell (?) out of the nest and I found it dead with ants swarming around it and how sad that all made me feel. Or my success with hunting scorpions. Or my lovely coffee with dad this morning. Or dinner with my nephew last weekend. Those things. They seem too big and I just can’t get my fingers around the all words to formulate them into a single, contained post that makes any kind of sense. Or offers you any kind of help in your own life. Because if I’m not helping, what am I here for?

Those are the things I can’t write about. I feel like I let myself down and then I also let you down. My rational brain knows this isn’t true. But, here and now, I’m being honest and I’m just following David Whyte’s directions.

Ok. Done.

That helped. I may try that again in the future. Because I’d like to share New York with you. And Hawaii and New Orleans. I’d love to share the things I learned and experienced while seeing new things, visiting family and old (we’re not old) friends, and being a writer while not writing.


Before I go:

Let’s talk about what I have been writing, because thank the Jesus above, the Universe all around us, and friends and family in the flesh, I have been writing other stuff. And that feels, gooood!

For those of you who read Harlem’s Awakening and have been waiting for the sequel, you might want to sit down if you aren’t already: I finished it. I truly, honestly did finish it. It’s titled “Harlem’s Last Dance.” 111 pages. Nine years to complete. (Why it took the time it took is it’s own story, but at least we have some of that documented if you want to go back and read this blog from the beginning because … holy crap, that’s how long I’ve been writing Pen and Peppur. Yowza!! I feel good about myself in this moment. That’s an accomplishment!)

All right. Continuing:

I have queried a few agents and I am awaiting their responses. Here on this blank blog page, I can write that sentence easily. But, please know that it has been a hard wait. I struggle with things like wanting to be accepted, needing validation, feeling that I’ve done a good job, and dancing chained and barefoot around my cauldron of perfection. (Culprits in the Nine Year Haul.)

For those that don’t know, the querying process is sort of like applying for a job. You have to prep your resume (query letter), find the right job, and hope that the hiring manager is looking for someone exactly like you and then you have to wait (sometimes weeks, days, months, years) for them to say, “You got the job, sister!”

I don’t enjoy the process. I am, however, trying to reclaim my emotions around it and just accept it for what it is: a process.

I’m also toying with the idea of not waiting for an agent to approve and validate my writing. Why? Because, there is just as much power in self-publishing, especially if the goal is to simply publish a book you’ve been working on since 2013. But, this route is like starting your own business. It takes loads of work, money and sacrifice to make your book a success. I often question, am I ready? Do I have the stamina?

What would you do?

While you answer, I just thought to offer you this bit of advice:

If you’re having a hard time with not completing things and beating yourself up about it, try one or both exercises that I did here in this space. Take a few moments to write down what you can’t write (or complete) and then what you have.

It helps.

It helps you take your mind off the negative stuff that is pulling you down into the dirt and working to bury you in a heaping shit pile of seemingly dead hopes, dreams and desires. It helps you unlock your creativity. And it also helps you breathe, for just a moment, as you remember that you are capable of completing something on your To-Do list that satisfies your soul, even if it is folding laundry. Which is exactly what I’m going to do right now while I also reward myself with a few episodes of Murder, She Wrote. (Rest in power Angela Lansbury.)

Therefore, until we meet again. Perhaps over du vin in Bordeaux, or …. some other time that will lead to words on the page.

Love you,


2 comments on “Writing About What I Can’t Write About

  1. Ruthy Hope

    Maybe take Harlem into your own hands. Here is some self-publishing inspiration I found the other day:

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