Soggy Poems & Dead Ends

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
a poet, a pawn, and a king.” — Frank Sinatra

Like Frank, I have been many things. I’ve called myself a writer, journalist, author, poet, blogger. I am all of those things and, lately, seemingly none of them.
I’m not writing. I haven’t had any great ideas. When some bit of inspiration does trickle in, it lands with a thud at my feet and doesn’t even bounce.
Last week in the woods, a poem showed up. It was so insistent, I sat down on the trail and wrote words in my notebook, but by the time I got home, they were stale and soggy.
Is this writer’s block? A pandemic pause? A crisis of faith?
In my darkest moments, I worry I’m a hack, that readers have been humoring me all this time. That my lack of pedigree makes me and my work irrelevant. That I have overstayed my welcome and should just shut up and find something else to do — like paint my nails or make bundt cakes for the neighbors.
Oh, I know most of that isn’t true. In the light of day, anyhow. But at night, when I toss and turn and wonder about what comes next? I get nothing but pieces of soggy poems and dead ends.
That’s life?
I’ve been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face
I just pick myself up and get back in the race

This too shall pass.
(I hope.)

So tell me, have you been here before? Experienced writer’s block or a creative pause? What did you do?

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5 replies on “Soggy Poems & Dead Ends”

Writer’s block? Oh yes, it sure does happen! What do I do? Move on and do something else, figuring my writer’s muse will reappear And eventually she does, though once it took two years and even then returned in a different form. But I don’t see that as all that bad. While my muse is seemingly hiding, I’ve uncovered new painting skills, written and published a nonfiction book on joy and taken on haikus as a different style of writing poetry . Writer’s road block? Not really…simply a turn in the path!

That’s all good to read! I suppose the same is true here – while I haven’t been writing, I’ve been making zines and reading more books. Maybe my writing muse is just in quarantine? LOL! Thanks for the response, Mary!

Been There?

Soggy dead ends in a poem marsh–
maybe it’s time to rest, switch to prose,
stop digging thickets–forty notebooks,
still no swamp bucket of whatever.

When inspiration thuds, “lower your standards,”
said Stafford. Hard to listen, wait.
Stare at ripples in a pond.
So many things we can’t know.
PS, thanks for your poem and question.
– Richard Widerkehr
At the Grace Cafe
(Main Street Rag)
shameless self-promotion, sorry

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