When the WordyGurdy Shuts Down

May 31, 2020

Hi, my name is Leslie, and I have Writer’s Block. It’s been 20+ weeks since my last blog post.

Truthfully, I doubt if anyone’s noticed. The internet is an Information Niagara that dumps billions in bytes of new content everyday. If one or even a thousand bloggers dry up, there’s still a ton of words pouring in to be read. Just, none of them have come from me.

I promise, this isn’t a self-pity pitch crying “Why don’t you miss me?” It’s an explanation about why I’ve gone radio silent. And a bit of an apology for my behavior. But the fact is, my WordyGurdy, that is my ability to write, shut down around Christmas and it hasn’t cranked out a sentence since.

WordyGurdy, is a term I learned from Stephen King reading his wonderful book, Bag of Bones. In the story, a very nice writer-guy, (lots of those fellows inhabit SK books) talks about this imaginary doo-hockey inside his brain, named a WordyGurdy, that churn out sentences and paragraphs as he creates. It’s a great idea. My WordyGurdy looks (I think) something like an accordion with typewriter keys, and something like a Barrel Organ. When it’s working you can see gears spinning on the sides and pipes popping out on the top, like a Calliope. When it’s working. It hasn’t done that for awhile.

I’ve tried to get my WordyGurdy. I cleaned the keys and looked down the pipes, to clear away all obstructions. No change. I tried to force one of the gear wheels into spinning with my thumb, but all I got for my trouble was a blister. Every time I put my fingers on the keyboard these days, WordyGurdy stays locked down tight. Nothing pops. And I sit at the keyboard, frustrated.

I’m frustrated because there are stories I want to tell. I want to relate how repainting the kitchen became a weather-related marathon that colored my porch 50 Shades of Gray. I want to talk about how my cat, the Serial Killer, should have been named Dexter, and Molly’s new obsession with opossums. If he agrees, I want to tell the world about my boss shooting a varmint in his bathroom with an arrow. I also want to tell stories that remind us that we’ll get through this mess, that humanity’s survived worse messes before. Only problem is, whenever I try, the words won’t come. At all.

Some of this block is probably tied to the reappearance of my Chronic Depression, though I’m not sure if it’s a symptom or a cause. CD is the common cold of mental ailments and I’ve had it long enough to recognize the symptoms. It isn’t any easier to live with now, then when it first hit at age eleven, but at least it’s no longer terrifying. Depression stinks but it’s temporary. I just have to have to endure this until it passes.

So, these days, I wait and hope. Hope, that when the time comes, that I’ll still have something to say. That I’ll find a good way to say it. And someone may want to listen.

We’ll see. In the meantime, I also hope you, your family, and friends are all well and that they stay that way. I hope you are coping with this strange New World. I know you’re doing the best you can. Most of us are. Coping’s just harder than usual right now.

Please keep on doing the best you can and someday the sun will return, literally and metaphorically. People will realize this plague is gone and somehow, they’re still here. Thanks will be given, Dementors will vanish, and the mourners will start to find closure.

And Wordygurdies will start to turn.

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