Is it procrastination? Or is it fear? Why do I think I have nothing to say, nothing worth writing down? Even my journal has remained mostly untouched throughout this trip. That is a bad sign.
I have kept a journal for almost 30 years, recording my thoughts and feelings with honesty, intensity, and agony. At times I will write every day, sometimes I write nothing for months.
So here I am, headed to “Into the Fire“, the Sun Magazine‘s annual writers retreat at Esalen Institute in Big Sur. I went for first time last year, and found the experience inspiring, yet frustrating. I still had a basic question: is anything I write interesting enough, good enough, relevant enough for anyone else to read?
My goal of writing up the interview with Ianto has dogged me ever since I left Coquille. I‘ve told myself it was the tedium of transcripting hours of the recorded conversation. But that‘s really the easy part. It is the story which challenges me, the weaving of Ianto‘s thoughts into the context in which I have known him and through which the reader will draw insight from his wisdom.
The last two days I tried to write at the Caffe Pergolesi, with punk rock blaring in the background, hopped up on chocolate cake and yes, iced coffee. All that got done was a few minutes of transcription, and I think I started to get a bit of a cough. Still, no story came forth.
There are other factors of course. This trip has been amazing physically. But emotionally the restaurant has still been a source of anxiety, even though it‘s nearly 900 miles away. There is a seasonal slowdown, and weak cash flow as a result. I think we have enough to make it through, but do we really? To write, to free my mind enough to make space for the story to unfold, I need to put aside all distractions.
So today I‘m going to hole myself up at the Santa Cruz library, at a table facing Mitchell‘s Auto Repair Manuals. This is a place where books live on, where the craft of writing is celebrated and revered. Let‘s see what happens here…