Where Do You Go?

Writer's Block sucks.

Asks anyone who writes for a living. Even those of us who toil away at the office writing something as mundane as a procedural manual for a profitability reporting system (isn't my life exciting) sometimes stop mid-sentence and say, "What the hell am I doing?" It's bad enough to get stuck in the middle of writing an essay, short story, script - but to have a block when all you're doing is listing the steps necessary to filter a finance report by region?

Well, that's why I have the little library shelf. Not much - usually no more than 4 or 5 books. When I get stuck on writing something, I stop and do a little perusing. The current mini-library has been the same since the beginning of summer: The Complete Stories of John Cheever, The Collected Works of Shakespeare (tiny beat-up copy I've owned since college), Walt Whitman's Complete Leaves of Grass, and the 35-year retrospective Essential Ellison (I keep the 50 year edition at home).

So this morning I was stuck, and I came across this poem from Walt Whitman:

When I Read the Book

When I read the book, the biography famous,
And is this then (said I) what the author calls a man's life?
And so will some one when I am dead and gone write my life?
(As if any man really knew aught of my life,
Why even I myself I often think know little or nothing of my real life,
Only a few hints, a few diffused faint clews and indirections
I seek for my own use to trace out here.)

And if that doesn't sum up why I write in this thing, I don't know what does.