For now I've put aside the post I am trying to write on how, I believe, most of us live adaptively. It is there, in draft form, resisting teeth-gritting efforts to make it behave. Susan mentioned a short story of hers that is convalescing. My piece is still at the dinner table, refusing to eat its big-as-a-quarter and mealy lima beans, the lights have been turned out and I expect in the morning to find that it has either run away or slept at the table, unwilling to give an inch.
An idea which appears so clearly, which I could probably articulate if I could talk it through, adjusting as I go, will not always surrender itself, at least not in the expected amount of time, to becoming orderly and coherent. In some ways I am still at the vintage Underwood, rolling a sheet of copy paper (and making a carbon copy) into place with the certainty that in, say, 45 minutes I will have something ready to go to press. It doesn't always happen that way and, as I would like to have one or two more posts written before the end of the month, this topic has been set aside.
I really don't believe in writers' block, though I have days - or more - when the words will not fit themselves together in a pleasing fashion, when I know my correspondence voice would speak for me but I reject it as being too informal or goofy or unprofessional. As though there were rules here.
Years after the fact, how many of us still subject ourselves to the black-and-white, good or bad, live or die rigidity under which we grew up? Standards, expectations of a certain level of work, keep us sitting up straight and, please, inhibit us from making up words like ginormous or bromance. Is there room for those of us who write to allow something to be good enough? Or will there always be the wish to polish and edit, to refine and clarify, to know that confusing isn't the word we want but murky is?
As I move with the caution of a bomb diffuser into poetry, I see how prose may be more forgiving, how fewer words require even greater precision. There are moments when I question whether becoming more demanding of my writing is the road to contentment and I know the answer is yes. It is about becoming better at what we love. I would not be happy as a half-assed auto mechanic and will do what I can not to be half-assed at writing. Eventually we reach a plateau, but if what we seek is growth and not immortality we may be able to rest there in peace. For now, the essay that cannot be coaxed wins. But in a generous, parting gesture it suggested something that might fill this space for now.