Tag Archives: writing

I’m happy…and it’s just the worst

Writer’s block.

Block o’ the writer.

Le bloc de scribe.

Blockity block block.

Block is a funny word.

Block.

Block.

Block.

And the word has lost all meaning to me.

Block. It doesn’t even sound like a real word. Blockblockblockblockblockblock.

I want cheese.

I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I’ve been having a touch of the writer’s block lately. So please forgive me for my introduction. I once had an English professor tell me that the only cure for writer’s block was to just start writing, even if it didn’t make sense, and eventually the words would start flowing.

And he was right. They are now, indeed, flowing. Right up shit creek. Sans paddles.

A point. I should have a point. Yes, because that is what writing is for, to get to “the” point. Unless it’s poetry. Or a thinly-veiled autobiographical novel by a 25-year-old post-grad student who writes on a typewriter because it’s more “authentic.”

The point is, I’m happy. And that is, obviously, the problem.

See, happy people generally don’t become writers. Not that they can’t or that there aren’t currently happy people writing. Or even that an otherwise miserable writer can’t be happy from time to time. But there is a reason the majority of the best ones end up in the gutter dying of tuberculous and alcoholism and cousin-marrying diseases.

Let’s put it this way, our most optimistic motto comes from Ernest Hemingway and goes “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

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A lot of writing comes from dark places. Even if you fancy yourself a humor writer, such as a certain someone I know that is totally me. In fact, I’d even be willing to throw out the theory that funny writing often comes from some of the darkest places of all. I got ten bucks that says Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck and Mark Twain all sacrificed baby goats and then drank a gallon of whiskey before putting pen to paper.

And while in general I think I’m a fairly content and optimistic person, there was always some deep down angst I could draw from before in my writing, no matter how great my life was going. Daddy issues. An eating disorder. Betrayals by former boyfriends. Financial instability. The premature cancelation of “Firefly.” That one time I had to go to the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving.

Not that I really wrote about those particular things (the grocery store incident notwithstanding…that one was a three-parter). I just used my former bitterness and sadness to help me laugh at the world. In fact, that’s why I wanted to become a humor writer in the first place. The world is significantly less scary if you can make fun of it.

However, I am currently living through what will be my good ‘ol days. And I am lucky enough to realize this as I’m going through it. Which is amazing.

But as a writer, it’s kryptonite. No one wants to read about other people’s happy lives. We want to read about how messed up other people’s lives are so we feel better about our own messed up lives. We weren’t forced kicking and screaming to read “Anna Karenina” in high school because she ends up happily married with a half dozen adorable, cherubic babies running happily through her skirts. No! We were forced to read it so we could all go “well, at least my life ain’t as screwed up as that chick’s.”

It’s like my stupid, adorable, perfect husband and my stupid, adorable, perfect son and our stupid, adorable, perfect life together has shot a ray of pure friggin’ sunshine and rainbows into my very own heart of darkness. How do you make fun of your life and have sentences dripping with snark when you wake up every morning like bloody freaking Snow White, singing as you get dressed and feeling absolutely no desire to throw your hot coffee on the bird singing outside your window?

I’m happy, dammit.

I guess the only thing to do now is just sit back and enjoy it like the happy and mature person I apparently am now. (But all while secretly counting down the days until my baby hits the Terrible Twos and I’ll be miserable again).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go think of some trivial subject that I can pick a fight with my husband over so I have a topic for next week.

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Reason No. 513 why I shouldn’t quit my day job

Hey kids,

Wanna play a fun drinking game? Then listen to my dear friend Dennis interview me on his Blog Talk Radio show and take a shot every time you hear me say “um” or “like.”

I guarantee you’ll be wasted by minute seven.

And if you can’t manage to make it through my Mid-west, Valley Girl way of speaking, you should at least check out his other interviews with other writers and creative types. They’re fun and insightful and not chock full of awkward giggles.

Luckily, I am not a public speaker by trade, so you can check out the much less annoying edited and censored me via my latest post on DigBoston.com (edited by REAL professionals for your reading pleasure).

What do you want to be when you grow up?

 When you’re a kid, your interaction with adults is usually confined to the following conversations:

“How was school?” which was always followed by “Fine.”

“So, got a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?” which was always followed by “No…gross.”

And the ever popular “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

If I was 5 and you had asked me that last question, my answer probably would have been “dog.” Perhaps I was just an inherently lazy child, but to me, dogs were living the ultimate life. Sleep all day, eat whenever you want, get petted, roll around in some gross stuff, fart whenever you want and sleep some more. Now THAT is the true American dream.

If I was 11, however, and you had asked me this question, I would have said model/actress/archeologist/doctor (while doing research as a marine biologist on the weekends, naturally).

By 15, most likely my response would have been along the lines of “Whatever…hey, how noticeable is this zit?”

But by 17, I would emphatically declare that I, Aprill Brandon, was going to be a writer.

By 18, a great writer!

By 19, a world-famous writer! Who would eventually go on to star in the movie-versions of her novels alongside Orlando Bloom as the lead male.

By 20, a teacher!…which lasted up until my first 15 minutes of student teaching, when it instantly switched back to writer!

By 21…well, that whole year is pretty fuzzy so my answer would most likely have been “Letzzz do ‘nother shot, bitchessss!”

The point is, for a very long time all I wanted to be was a writer. And so I became one, working as a journalist and columnist for the past six years.

But if you were to ask me now, at the age of 29, what I want to be when I grow up, the answer is simply “I don’t know” (although sometimes, if I just got done watching “Blade Trinity” for the 114th time, I’ll respond with “Ryan Reynold’s post-divorce rebound”).

Perhaps it’s because I left my old job to move to Boston with my husband and now have the time and opportunity to explore other career avenues. Or maybe I’m just burnt out after so many years in a high stress, demanding job. Possibly it’s because the big dirty 30 is creeping up on me. Or it could even be I’m beginning to feel a little out of my league considering Boston attracts a whole lot of wicked smaaaht people.

Whatever the reason, I’m at a loss what my next step should be. Hell, I’m at a loss what my next sentence should be.

I mean, even with this blog, I’m not sure what I’m doing. Technically, the whole theme is…well, there’s not even really a theme other than “hey, I’m almost 30, just moved to Boston and have no idea what I’m doing.” And apparently in this day and age, first-person writing needs to document a year of your life as you cook, or eat, pray and get laid, or read the entire encyclopedia or whatever the next blog-turned-book-turned-movie that is coming out is about.

And looking through job listings just makes me tired. From what I can tell, my options outside of media are pretty much confined to barista or project manager for some company that I can’t pronounce.

So, should I take this time to explore other options (how hard can it be to make a non-fat, soy latte with an extra shot of espresso anyway?), or pursue my lifelong dream? Or is it even my dream anymore?

I guess the real question here is: Is writing what I do, or is it who I am?

Hmm…maybe I had it right when I was 5.