I Cannot Write

Hiking 090

I’m starving for the trees, yearning for the wind to tease my hair into tangles, sniffing for the mast and earth scent unique to a forest. I want the winding mountain trails and the quiet creeks that go to rushing mountain streams. I seek the peace of the evening broken by hoot owls, coyotes, and cicadas. I want to hear the whippoorwill sing as the sun slips beyond the horizon. I want to climb the trails up the hill, down to the vale, and up again, wending and winding until I reach the mountain top.

On the mountain top I can think. Pondering the choices before me, the paths clear. I can see the possibilities at the end of each path. I can tell which one gets me to my goal. Trapped by four walls and a job that cannot make up its mind, I am lost. I might as well be underground wandering in tunnels with no light to assist me. I seek a way out but there is no clear path. So I trek to find my way out of the dark into the light of the forest where the birds sing and the butterflies dance. I want to stand on the mountain looking at the World of Possibilities. No matter what fear chants: I am not stuck. I am free. I can still write. But what sort of creature is a writer?

Taking a picture, I use words to bring it to life:

Laughing beneath the canopy, Jocelyn spun, flowers floating free of her wicker basket at last! The table was set for four and tea was at hand. Mother in her white summer muslin and Father in his frilled shirt and trousers. Brother played with rocks and a squadron of tin soldiers resplendent in their jackets. Jocelyn fell down as Mother called them to tea a second time.

Writing is all I think about. The woods are all I long for. I wish I had a career that kept me in the woods and allowed me the peace of mind to write. A good friend told me: a job you hate is fuel for writing. That is not true for me. I am stagnating. I cannot write. I cannot finish my novel nor re-write certain short stories. I stare at both screen and paper. “The cat ran out the door.” I write. Then nothing. Nada, Zilch! What is wrong with me? I know I need to make it to the forest again because that is where I feel balanced, whole, hale, peaceful, happy. The forest is my home. When I visit the forest, I return ready to write.

{Pictures taken by me on Mount Petit Jean in Arkansas Spring 2016. One from the Overlook and the other on the Bear Cave Trail.}



2 thoughts on “I Cannot Write

  1. I know the feeling. When you’re in a, for lack of a better word, “zen” place like the outdoors, writing comes much more naturally. It’s a shame that life, particularly work life, strives to stifle creativity.

    On another note, beautiful pictures, Amanda. I don’t go outside often these days, but sights like those make me wish I had a bit more freedom to explore.


    1. Always a shame. It feels like I’m working towards nothing. All the hours I spend at work seem a waste. I was able to write there but now I can’t even edit a story. And thank you. My camera has been calling me too.


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