Drivers along the northern stretch of Alabama’s busy I65 met with an eerie and unexpected sight during February of 2012 when a gaping sinkhole appeared before them in the blacktop.
It must have been terrifying.
In a peculiar way, the event reminded me of the devastating effects of writer’s block. Can you relate? How many of us have been swept along by intoxicating whirlwinds of creativity and inspiration, only to be dropped suddenly and unceremoniously at the brink of our own black and cavernous ‘sinkhole’?
The big question is: how should we react when this happens? Human nature seems to say stare at the looming sinkhole, think about the sinkhole, and possibly even begin to researchsinkholes. Think SINK. Until the blackness grows to an overwhelming, all-consuming size.
For just a moment, imagine the impact if those unlucky February drivers had chosen to simply sit in their cars and stare at their obstacle. Not too efficient.
Instead, traffic was detoured, some folks chose different modes of transportation for a week or two, and others opted for phone calls instead of personal visits. People got creative!
To ward off writer’s block, you too, have to be pro-active and creative. One step is by choosing to become proficient in different genres. Though you may prefer to write Young Adult Fiction, your writing can only improve as you learn to write quality Flash Fiction or try your hand at Poetry or Romance. If you always compose while sitting at the computer, ‘unplug’ yourself and write long-handed or speak into a voice-recorder. Make notes while sitting under a tree.
Dare to challenge yourself and your brain. Do things differently and don’t be afraid to take detours!
Robyn Corum is a writer and author living in Alabama near the repaired Interstate. She writes in many genres and has two books available for purchase. Melinda Heads West is a Historical Romance and Pieces of Her Mind is a book of short form Japanese Poetry with seventeen other women poets.
The following is a 596-word Flash Fiction piece by Robyn that placed in the Top 10 in Summer 2012 WOW-Women on Writing Contest.
Annie Faye has always been the brave one in the family. We had strict orders from momma when we were children not to dare Annie Faye to do anything, because she'd proven time and again that she would. She wasn't afraid of spiders or snakes or those things in the back of the closet or even what Mr. Lunden said he kept in the bottom drawer of his desk at school for bad boys and girls.
Oh, she was something growing up. While all us girls sat under the shade tree talking about babies and pinafores, Annie Faye was playing kick ball with the boys, or jumping off the school house roof. She broke her leg three times, and never cried once. Doctor Mayfield said he'd never seen anything like her. Momma 'bout wore her poor hands out from wringing them. She'd say, "Annie Faye, Annie Faye. You're gonna be the death of me!" But Annie Faye just smiled and kept right on doing her foolish things.
We all told her she was crazy, but secretly I think we envied her stoic regard of the same world we shied away from. She lived life face first.
Annie Faye got an old beat-up camera when our Uncle Henry passed away–that's my mother's brother. My, she was hot for that. Summertime, she would go up on the mountain at sunrise and we wouldn't see her again 'til after dark. Sometimes she'd be all thoughtful-like when she got home, and sometimes she'd run in hugging everybody and giddy, and we always wondered what took place on those hills, just her and that camera.
O' course, this town was way too small for a big soul like hers and soon as she got old enough, she packed a worn out leather suitcase, kissed our momma and headed off into the sunset. Had that camera tucked under her arm. She was aiming to see the world, she said. I have to admit, I said a prayer for the poor world.
Every now and again, we'd get a postcard, or more rarely, a letter. The letters were our favorites 'cause she'd put some of her pictures in there. Oh! You only hear about places like that. We were getting a history lesson in the mail.
When we heard she went skydiving, we all made a collective gasp, I think, but for ourselves, at the thought of it–not for Annie Faye… that didn't really seem a surprise somehow.
Her travels took her everywhere, all across this big, old ball. She rode in boats and planes, and I don't know what all. I even heard she climbed some mountains. She's a brave one, that Annie Faye.
Then the other day, I got a package in the mail. In it I found a beautiful ring, a plane ticket, and a peculiar note from Annie Faye. It said, "Riding camels in Egypt. Life is flying by. What are you waiting for?" And there I stood in the middle of my lonely yard, half sunburnt grass, and half hard beat dirt, looking around, and it occurred to me, what am I waiting for?
So that's why I'm writing you this letter. I don't know when I'll be home, but I'm having more fun than I ever thought possible.
I hope you find the ring. Annie Faye said she likes to think the round ruby represents the world, and the tiny facets represent all the possibilities there are. I left it on the counter for you. I don't think I'll be needing it.
Robyn's latest book, Melinda Heads West, is available here: