Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Severe writer's block... durrr... brain like mashed potato...

Sam Thomas of Men Get Eating Disorders Too has asked me to "guest blog" about my newly published book (see right). But my mind has gone completely blank. It's as if I've never put pen to paper (or rather fingertips to keyboard) in my life. The same thing happened when I tried to blog here about a really fruitful "walk and talk" I did with Ben this afternoon. Durrr.... my brain is like mashed potato... I think Batty's brain is on sabbatical.

If you've read my blog you'll know that every so often I go into "screensaver" mode when my brain just stops, dead, and becomes like a lump of mashed potato. It's usually after a particularly harrowing period or a period of intense activity. In my case it's probably because I've been frantically proof-reading / tweaking my book prior to publishing, and then proof-reading and doing the same with the 2012 version (and not doing very much about my "Please eat..." book which is on a back-burner until I get around to re-working those final chapters).

Aaarrrggghhh! Too much writing! Too much thinking! Too many other things going on at the moment!

And on top of this there's the little issue of "real work". You know, the thing you do during the day to earn a crust? The trouble is, when I'm brain dead I can't do this either. I write for a living, you see. (No, not my books, I make virtually nothing out of them.)

The thing is, when you have writer's block you just can't write - and it applies to anything. Heck, I can't even sum up enough active grey matter to write a shopping list!

So this afternoon Ben and I took advantage of the first dry, sunny day we've had in weeks to go walking. Just a walk we've done dozens of times before on the "walks and talks" I've blogged about so much: a two-hour circular walk through the grounds of our local stately home, close to the set of ITV's Emmerdale. We watched the deer and highland cattle hanging around squelchy looking fields, plus a red kite soaring across the valley towards the swollen river and up to the crags on the hill.

We talked a bit about the ED and how Ben is progressing, which is slowly but surely, despite the ups and downs of the past month or so. We talked a bit about university until he didn't want to talk about it any more. But, mainly, we just enjoyed being out there in the rare sunshine, sun low on the horizon casting long shadows across the fields.

One thing that did strike me, though, was this...

Going for walks like this in winter often makes me feel what I call "National Trusty". In other words I want to cook and bake wholesome traditional stews, puddings and cakes.

(For my overseas followers, the National Trust is a charity that owns numerous stately homes and gardens, each with its own teashop or restaurant specializing in wholesome home-cooked food and cakes, and often with an old-fashioned walled kitchen garden growing organic vegetables and fruit. Whenever we visit a National Trust property I always come away fired up to cook or bake good old-fashioned comfort food like stews, nut roasts, wholemeal bread or suet puddings.)

Ben and I talked about my dilapidated Cranks vegetarian cookbooks from the 1980s... all lentils, beans, nuts and wholemeal wholesome everything...very National Trusty... and how we both wanted to cook and bake the lot. Everything. Cakes, puddings, pies... the works!

It took me back to a time, in Ben's "high anorexia period", when he wouldn't touch anything in those cookbooks, especially the cakes and puddings. Purely and simply because they contained too many fear foods. Stuff like butter and other fatty foods. Or just too many calories. He avoided these recipes like the plague.

But I hazard a guess that if I walked into the kitchen right now and baked everything from those books he'd eat any of them.

That, my dear brain dead, sleep-deprived Batty, is what I call progress and why you should feel extremely optimistic at the moment. If, my dear mashed potato brained Batty, you could feel anything at all.

I think my brain has gone away on vacation.

Maybe I need a vacation.

Or maybe I'll wake up tomorrow morning raring to go, writing for England, or - rather - writing a sales letter for a manufacturing client of mine.

But if my writing head is still AWOL then I'll postpone it and go shopping. Or baking. Or for another walk and talk with Ben if the sun is still shining.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely can not stand writers block. It feels like you have so much to say but can't get it out just right. I hope your brain comes back from vacation soon.