Maybe I Need an Art Buddy. Maybe I Just Need Backup.


Well, here I am back in the Writer’s Block, which kind of sounds like something you would find in a Communist prison. Yes, they really used to confiscate writers’ typewriters in the USSR and Poland. It was cost-effective. You don’t need to feed typewriters and they don’t bleed when you beat them up.

Here in the more or less democratic US of A, where we have Freedom of Font and also a whole lot more options for putting our ideas down and spreading them around, the problem tends not to be so much Tyranny that is rearing its ugly head as it is Woeful Lack of Imagination.

Part of this, I suspect, is because a blog is not exactly a Project in the same sense that a novel or, for want of a better example, a few hundred pages of poetry about a 1990s TV show are. There isn’t the compulsive pull of a few well-chosen characters whose voices need to be explored. There isn’t the narrative tension of a plot to resolve or of subplots to weave in artfully. On the flipside, there are more opportunities to use pictures of cats to make my points.

Sometimes, when procrastination takes the form of Radically Empty Brain Syndrome (REBS), I stare at the wall, vainly hoping for something to show up. But remember that “radical” comes from the Latin, radix, meaning “root.” If there is nothing at the root of the brain, there won’t be much to grow out of it. So maybe the solution is to find another brain to work with.

If I were an Igor in a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel, I suppose I would mean that literally: find a brain, go up to the top of a tall MIT building and wait for lightning to strike. Then do an evil maniacal laugh, etc. Problem solved.


Failing that, I suppose I need to find another brain the less old-fashioned way, by actually finding a writing buddy, a collaborator, or possibly some badass with a big gun or maybe a Frisbee. Some writing buddies each write their own work separately and then read each other’s work. This is different from collaborators who work on the same project. Personally, I was thinking more along the lines of someone to come to my rescue with a whole lotta firepower, or possibly an Iron Frisbee of Doom.

Then maybe I’ll get writing again.

Weighing In On the Issues, #1


Before I begin explaining Campaign Issue Number One, I have to explain where it comes from. Hopefully, if you haven’t been living in a cave recently, and/or your cat hasn’t knocked your computer mouse off your desk so that you are incapable of accessing Facebook, then you know that Berkeley Breathed has broken his 25 year sabbatical and brought Bloom County back in time for the 2016 American presidential circus. I mean, election. And of course Opus is running, with Bill the Cat as his Veep of choice.

Now let me get a leetle political here and say that at this point I would probably vote for Opus before any of the Republican contenders and most of the Democratic ones, which is sad. I believe that Opus probably wouldn’t get us into yet another war (not sure about Bill) or try to defund cancer screenings for women. That is just not how he rolls.

However, I must say that the hot-button issue he has chosen as the main plank in his platform is something I simply cannot get behind: reverting to using two spaces after a period.

People talk about how we’ve abandoned our traditional values, rejected the teachings of the Bible (presumably by eating shrimp and not having concubines, because I am pretty sure ancient Hebrew doesn’t actually use punctuation). But what they ignore is the reason we used to have two spaces after the period back in the day when we typed on actual typewriters, manual and electric.

The way I was taught, the letters in the font that typewriters used were of different widths and the space was narrow, so the extra space did something to balance that out. Now, the letters of most fonts are less varied, so the extra space isn’t needed. I don’t know if that is true. What I do know is that should you, gods forbid, justify your writing on both left and right, an extra space could end up giving you a huge hole in the middle of your paragraph as your word processing program works overtime to fix what ain’t broke.

Where do you stand on the debate?