Shenandoah Volume 68, Number 1
Volume 68, Number 1 · Fall 2018

Introduction to Writer’s Block

It was right after they had taken a picture of my brain and showed me those dark shadows, called lesions. You said “You’ve lost your muse” and you took me to the movies, to museums, we walked along the ocean and in the mountains, and still I couldn’t write. “I’ve lost my words,” I told you, although technically we knew they were still in there, somewhere, teeming and crowding, but sometimes I would confuse one with another, another aphasia. You can write with just the words you have left, I told myself. Writers write, so you just sit down and do it. What stories are left to tell? My brain has been crammed full of riots and police beatings, bombings in distant lands that were the birthplaces of roses and pomegranates and apples, salmonella in the peanut butter, sunspots causing continental drift. You have to shove all that aside. Maybe listen to some music, that new band, something with dragons. Even at the end of the world, you can make fire. If you wait long enough, something inside you will ignite.