When all else fails, read: my writer’s block library

At long last, the whistling steam escapes out the kettle of my dormant creativity and I can feel the subtle yet urgent nudge to put my fingers to the keys. My fingers fly like water hitting a hot stove. My desire to write pours onto the great glacier encapsulating my words stories lyrics and slowly starts to melt the ice. More steam disappearing into unseen air.

I’ve been gone awhile. I mean both that I have been absent from Untethered and absent from myself, or at least, my creative self. But now I am an airplane poised for takeoff, ready to return home. I feel like I am on the cusp of something, about to leap into an unknown precipice, one foot on the ground, the other in midair. I’ve been here before. What comes next is something I cannot foresee, but I’ve detected the creative current pulsing through my veins and though I try to be patient, I cannot wait for the blood to reach every point in my body. I need to write now.

But it’s hard. I feel as though I am awakening from a long hibernation. Don’t the bears sit drowsily in their caves and rub their eyes, stumble to the doors of their dens and cringe at the first ray of light before returning to the hunt? I’m the bear who has a hard time waking up.

Even so, this period of rest has not been spent in idleness. Like any writer estranged from her pen, I’ve been doing other important work: reading. I’ve been reading local magazines and papers. Spending hours with the New York Times. Scouring the blogosphere for people who inspire me. And sitting with (or working out with) books. “Read, read, read,” said William Faulkner. ““If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that,” said Stephen King. And so I have read. Here are the books that have kept me company lately:

1. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green 

This was only my first John Green book, and I’ve heard Looking for Alaska is superior, but I will say that it was a pleasant introduction. Heartfelt and authentic. Well-crafted, original characters. No masterpiece, but a good read.

2. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

Reading this book was like listening to my grandparents tell stories from their youth, sipping iced tea on the porch on a hot summer evening, never wanting the sun to set because the nighttime would bring an end to the storytelling. Vivid, masterful, gets under your skin and into your heart.

3. Unmasterd: A Book on Desire, Most Difficult to Tell, by Katherine Angel

This raw, jarring book is written in a sort of prose poetry that sends you sprinting from page to page as you delve, with the author, into the complex world of sexuality, lust, love, and feminism. Sit with it for three hours and you’ll be longing to read it again, this time more slowly.

4. Currently reading: The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

So far I love it. Don’t let its size scare you away.

5. And simultaneously reading: I Am Not Myself These Days, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

A memoir about a young drag queen in New York. This Goodreads reviewer summed up my thoughts perfectly: “This book is like dirty, dirty candy. It’s ridiculous and silly and somewhat awful, but just terribly, absurdly compelling.” Sometimes I have to pause on the elliptical because I’m laughing so hard.


As Ernest Hemingway said, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” What books have kept you company lately?

Read on,





Filed under Prose

2 responses to “When all else fails, read: my writer’s block library

  1. “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,” “Children Playing Before the Statue of God,” “Paris Letters,” “My Happy Days in Hollywood.”

    All very good! :)


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