I’m watching my erstwhile home team, the Cincinnati Bengals, in the first round of the playoffs. I’ve only watched a few NFL games this season — my tastes run more toward the college game these days, and have for years. Still, I can remember watching Bengals playoff games with my family, so why not?
Mondoville had a basketball doubleheader yesterday. The women’s game included a halftime presentation from the Ellen23 Foundation, a group working to combat the rising scourge of opioid addiction and overdose. The organization is named after the late Ellen Perry, a basketball player at Converse College in nearby Spartanburg who died of an overdose, and her mother has made it her mission to try to save other families from what hers has suffered.
As she spoke, I thought about how many people I’ve lost to drug abuse, including (indirectly) my parents, my brother, and several other folks I’ve known over the years. If we include alcohol-related deaths, the number is even higher. The Perry family is doing good work, and they’re worth your support.
I’m working on a novel these days, although less than I’d like. It’s not what I would think of as writer’s block. On the surface, it seems like a sort of flatness, a lack of ideas — but I think it may be a self-confidence issue.
I’ve never thought of myself as someone who can write at length. Both my dissertation and Broken Glass Waltzes were on the short side, although like Lincoln’s legs, they’re long enough to reach the ground. And while I don’t anticipate this thing catching up with Clarissa (and thank God for that), I know I still have quite a way to go, and I find myself wondering if I can do it.
And then I find myself thinking of the old story about the centipede. He’s ambling along, minding his own business, when someone says to him, “How can you keep all those legs coordinated?” He starts to think about it. . . and never takes another step. In short, I think I may be psyching myself out. And being aware of that creates its own vicious circle, and I wind up pressing or feeling guilty instead of writing.
It’s my hope that acknowledging all this is a step toward overcoming the obstacles. I guess we’ll see.
Thanks for tuning into today’s episode of Self-Doubt Theater.
I do know how to conclude a blog post though — with some music. Over the years, I’ve mentioned that The Call was (and remains) a favorite band of mine, thanks largely to the vocals and lyrics of the late Michael Been. This is a track from their first, self-titled album, released in 1982. It seems fitting tonight.
See you soon!