I approach this blank sheet with trepidation, because it has been my enemy for the past month. I cannot write. I do not know why, but I cannot write.
Perhaps it was the agency job I went for, the high-flying writing job I was so sure of, and I made it through to the third round of interviews and there I fell short, with their parting message assuring me of my loveliness as a human, yet gently informing me of my shortcomings as a copywriter.
Perhaps it was the SEO gig I worked at for one month, the office job where I grew restless and frustrated and sad, to the point where I felt that I was betraying myself and my literary aspirations every time I typed a sentence for a small to medium sized business that began with a rhetorical question and ended with a call to action.
Perhaps it is comfort. Perhaps with my lovely girlfriend and my nice flat and my silly friends and the eternal blue sky and the glittering ocean, I am comfortable enough that I feel no anger or desire or want; I am ever so content, and contentedness maketh not a good writer.
Perhaps I have grown up a bit, and I now pause and wonder why the hell anybody would give a damn what I have to say about anything. I think a heavy arrogance has left me. I didn’t even know it was there, but now I can feel its absence. It was an arrogance that drove me to hurt people I love, to leave behind career and home and friends, to gallivant away alone again and again, safe in the knowledge that I was meant for something; that all the loss and sadness that marred my journey would be worth it in the end when I achieved… what, exactly? It was an arrogance that comes hand in hand with naivety, brashness, youth. I don’t think there was anything malevolent in it. I think I was just a bit stupid.
Perhaps it was the change of environment. Melbourne is very liveable, but it is lacking any excitement for me. Hard to have an adventure here; there are a lot of coffee shops and bars, and they’re cool, trendy and whatnot, but after Berlin, Havana, Delhi and wherever else, any city is always going to look a little vanilla.
Perhaps it’s alcohol. I’ve been drinking a lot, more than in a long time. It’s the festive season, of course, but my travels in Australia have been accompanied by a bag of goon more often than not. It’s not great; it steals your motivation after a while. Always hungover or drunk – you don’t get a lot done that way.
Perhaps it’s something as simple as the fact I bought myself a games console a month ago as a treat, and often when I’ve an hour to spare – an hour I might once have devoted to writing – I now prefer to spend it riding around on a pixelated horse shooting cowboys. Writing is good fun, sure, but so is being a heartless bastard and robbing stagecoaches and hunting crocodiles.
Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I haven’t done a lot worthy of splashing across these hallowed pages. Would you really be interested in hearing about the two dozen evenings I’ve sat with Jeanne and my friends on the beach and watched the sunset? Would you be desperate to know the varying degrees to which my flatmates are house proud or slovenly? Would you care for me to detail the eternal struggle of my desire to not get fat versus my desire to do a lot of the things that make me fat? No, you would not, and moreover I would not care to write on the matter.
Perhaps it is all these things and more, because humans are devilishly complex, and often the root reasons for our emotions are so twisted and tangled up in each other – however silly or innocuous they may seem – that nine times out of ten we diagnose ourselves with precisely the wrong woes.
Perhaps I’m losing my motivation as a writer, or perhaps I’m just having a little rest.