Sunday, June 05, 2011

Alive in the SuperUnknown

I was just going to post the title of this entry as my Facebook status and leave it at that. However, on further thought, it needs some explanation.

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
Shared Experiences are important. They're what bind us to others in ways seen and unseen, known and unknown. I'm a fan of The Sopranos and watched the last four seasons with anticipation and frustration at the final ten seconds of the series. I shared that experience millions of fans of the show. It's a touchstone for anyone who's seen it. I'm not a fan of Glee, so I don't have any of the experiences that millions have with that show, or American Idol or lots of other shows. I have Shared Experiences with lots of folks around comic books, concerts, work, events concerning authors, musicians and even presidents. I can use those Shared Experiences as reference in my writing and that's why they're valuable. Like the rest of you I have Shared Experiences that you'll never know about (and which you don't want to know, too).

What happens when Shared Experiences lead you to places you didn't know you needed to see? That's where writing happens.

Recently I completed a tour of a Shared Experience called Writer's Block. I'd never really gone through it before, where I couldn't get creative or even really express myself. I knew all the things I was supposed to do: keep writing, go for walks, clean things and otherwise look for the one thing that would have triggered The Flow of Words. Nothing was working.

The dam finally broke and I'm back up on the horse and riding hell bent for leather. (I'm really mixing metaphors like Mrs. Field makes muffin batter here, sorry.)

What did it? Just time and patience. I did the work I could do and then a Shared Experience along with another Shared Experience (neither of which are your business) broke the dam. The gears clicked and words came out. Good words. Finally.

What I'm getting at was it took me a long time to realize I was Blocked and when I did, I didn't know what it would take to get out of it. Could I have prepared more for it? Maybe, but I don't know how I got Blocked in the first place. If it weren't for having resources that showed me that I would be able to get out of The Block, I might have despaired ever getting out of it. It's a crushing thing, an unknown thing that's terrifying when you confront it.

In the end, The Block was simply a Shared Experience, one that thousands of others have had, albeit a very personal Shared Experience. What it did for me was show me how to work through it when it happens again. The words came out and started Flowing for me again, like magic. The events that happened that flipped the switch in my head were important. I can't say if those that were with me had similar revelations, I don't know. All I can say is that when Shared Experiences change you, your mileage may vary.

So now I'm Alive in the SuperUnknown. What that means is that I'm looking for the things that will challenge me, make me better. I don't know what they are, but I'm watching for them.

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