Tara Lynn Johnson

Writer ~ Creator ~ Enthusiastic Audience Member

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Tag: Writing

Wrestling with writing

I don’t believe in writer’s block per se, but something’s going on. I’m trying to write. I’ve been trying to write. And nothing’s coming out right. *whine*

I didn’t post last week because whatever I had to say didn’t want to come out.

I started a post a couple of weeks ago, inspired by a New York ballerina’s exit from the stage for good and my having watched Manchester by the Sea the day before (see: hellos and goodbyes). I gave up on that one after about a day.

I started another post the other day about the vulture media and the people who say that horrible crimes “just don’t happen here” (our local media in particular has been saturated by the story of the four missing — now known to be murdered — young men, which even YOU have probably heard about all the way over there). I got pretty far with that post, but the ending just wouldn’t tie all the pieces together.

To be a writer who can’t seem to write is beyond frustrating.

To be an introvert writer prone to analyzing, I’ve been thinking about it, but haven’t come to a conclusion as to why these two pieces in particular couldn’t be finished (and why my brain came up with absolutely nothing last week).

My unscientific research so far:

  • The thoughts behind each post aren’t percolated enough as to come out completely (this is difficult because when I write an opinion piece, it usually wraps itself up, so this is unusual)
  • The thoughts behind the posts are thought-worthy, but not necessarily blog worthy (difficult because I think everything is fodder, even the most ordinary thing)
  • The thoughts are too big (I tried to narrow my focus)
  • The thoughts are too small (I’m totally OK with an abbreviated post, but that didn’t work out either)
  • It’s been too long since I’ve done this and I’m rusty as… … … see, I can’t even come up with a simile… … … (this was done for effect, people — I didn’t even try)
  • I’ve read too many comments sections of websites, so beyond the resistance that writers (or any artist for that matter) can feel, I have an additional chorus of unreal people in my head, waiting to pounce and tell me exactly why my opinion(s) is(are) stupid (yes, I know, many of you don’t think that and have told me so, but you aren’t as loud as those rude people and doubt)
  • I’ve read too many zen books that talk about judgment, and so now every time I have an opinion, I think, isn’t that judging? (perhaps I’ll go meditate on that…)
  • The frontrunner: it’s July and I can’t write with sweat pooling in my bra just from sitting still, and the typing is enough activity to make it look like I’m running a marathon (I soooo hate humidity), so I get up from my vinyl-ish office chair then double-check that my thighs aren’t chafed from the experience (all good), and promise myself I’ll try again another day.

Whatever the reason, at least I have learned that when I hit a wall, it’s time to turn off the computer and do something else. Perhaps the thoughts do need more time to marinate. Perhaps I do need to do something different to shake up my perspective and get the creative juices going again (though that’s difficult in July unless it’s near (read: right on top of) an air conditioner).

So I click save and keep each unfinished post, hopefully for another day.

The good thing: I was writing. The not-as-good: I didn’t finish what I started… but wait! I did! I finished this post. Well, at least there’s that.

p.s. To distract myself, I did some unintentional in-my-chair cardio by watching this video. Laughter is good for the soul (which will perhaps be good for writing… eventually…)

p.p.s. If any artistic types have tips, I’m all eyes… let me know in the comments.


A Pressing Issue

Something in the news lately, tied to politics, is bugging me: the way some people are talking about and acting towards the media and journalists.

Journalists do an important job — questioning authority, looking for things in the dark that should be brought into the light. But even if the job wasn’t important, they deserve, like everybody else, to go to work feeling safe. In these times, though, being a journalist is a becoming a dangerous job in America. Threatening language or actions of some, which might inspire others bent on doing harm, is beyond thoughtless and inappropriate.

Of course, it’s one thing just to use words. However, it seems that those words are becoming actions (something I hope doesn’t continue and become a trend).

Consider the thug in Montana who body-slammed a reporter, for instance. Note to Mr. Politician: it’s the job of the press, especially when it comes to politicians (who aren’t exactly at the top of the list of The Most Honest People), to be tenacious stopping just at the outer edge of obnoxious. If a politician can’t handle that, then maybe he (or she) should consider a different career. Being obnoxious trying to get an answer from a public servant isn’t illegal (yet), but assault is — the politician in this case was arrested, as he should have been. (Aside: he’s embarrassingly a hometown boy, born in California, but raised in a Philadelphia suburb).

Then there’s the Governor of Texas, who said he’d carry a target sheet around after shooting practice “in case I see any reporters.” Because joking about shooting people is hilarious?

Then, there’s the person or persons who thought it was a good idea to shoot out the window of a Kentucky newspaper with a gun (small caliber? B.B.? Does that matter?). Thankfully, the Republican governor of Kentucky denounced the behavior.

I wish others with more prominent positions would do so. But he won’t… Of course I blame the guy at the top, who sets a poor example, big league. If he thinks the press is wrong or smearing him or just making him looking bad (though he doesn’t need help in that area), he should rise above and let them be shown as fools, if that’s the case. He’s the President of the United States, the most public and prominent of politicians, and he should act like it. The very least he could do is watch his words and realize the weight they carry.

Journalism being a risky job isn’t new, but it is somewhat new to America. Journalists around the world have been killed or imprisoned just for doing their jobs — obviously war reporters take a known risk, but those covering politics also risk their lives sometimes (read more at the Committee to Protect Journalists).

But that hasn’t been the case in the U.S.A., and our free press is admired around the world. Because not everyone has that. Knowledge is a powerful thing and those who seek to control know that. Cutting off knowledge at its source, especially a source they can’t control, is imperative to their dominance.

But that’s not America.

Denigrating the media, calling them the enemy of the people, threatening them, putting hands on them — that’s not America either.

It hasn’t been anyway.

I’ll do everything in my power to keep what’s been happening from becoming the norm. And I’m not alone (thank goodness).

Hear ye

It’s been 197 days since I wrote here. I hid the blog from the site for a time, too. This was the last header photo I posted:

I wasn’t sure I was coming back to this place. Read more

Celebrate the freedom to read

It’s Banned Books Week! First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week aims “to remind Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.”

Through the years, many books now considered classics have been banned or suggested for banning. Have you read a banned book? You have if you’ve read:

Read more

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