The Invisible Wall

Anyone who writes can tell you about the invisible wall of writer’s block that can appear between the first sentence of a composition and a deadline. It showed up for me this week like Bill Murray’s clock radio alarm in the movie “Groundhog Day.”

Isn’t it true, that since the beginning of the “plague years,” a certain sameness has crept into our day to day awareness and custom? Infection rates have increased, new variant appeared, politician reacts to, celebrity reacts to…haven’t we heard all this before? Haven’t I written all THIS before??

I stood at the kitchen window looking out over my cup of coffee trying to erase the voices of Sonny and Cher from my head, and standing just above the bird feeder I saw three whitetail deer. Now there was something new! Then I noticed an Eastern Towhee on the feeder with the Carolina Chickadees, and thought, “What are you doing this far north in January buddy? I’d better check the bird guidebook.”

The sun was just coming over the ridge in the east, casting a medley of shadows beneath the laurels. The mountain wore a mantle of hoarfrost which glistened in the morning light, wisps of cloud streaming into clear blue sky. The evil spell was broken.

I think the first step on my path to release was closing the laptop on my way to that window. Trying to stay informed today is like tending a fire. If you get too close, or linger too long, you will get very uncomfortable at the least, or burned at worst.

It takes some effort, and focus, to navigate the polluted waters of the Pixel Ocean, even more to fish in them. Use a net and you’re going to find a lot of garbage in your catch. Use a pole instead, like an angler.

In that spirit, my recent media burn inspired some new efforts, and I found a news aggregator that actually seems to work. I’ve tried Google’s version, and the results always seem tainted by their efforts to spy on me and sell me things. Microsoft’s version seems intent on slyly injecting social engineering into my results, but that could also be the effect of corporate media’s intent to push a political agenda and the cringe-worthy efforts of fragile academia to disseminate discredited and repackaged Marxist ideas.

There is a news aggregator available on the news360 website which has, so far, been very promising. When I block a celebrity topic, for example, it stays blocked rather than being reintroduced in a slightly different form. My news feed is now tightly focused on the topics that interest me, like physics, finance, weather, geology and, of course, recipes.

I’ve also rediscovered as new, something very old: The binding of ideas and factual information onto stacks of paper. It’s odd that they became invisible for so long, since one wall of my office is covered with these bindings. I find it very convenient that they are so near, now that they are so needed. Ironic, isn’t it, that an invisible wall of writer’s block could exist within an arm’s reach of an invisible wall of books?

With that thought I bid you farewell for now, my friends, in this first month of the new year. We’ll do our best to push through those invisible walls of thought and habit this year, so “Put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb…” Sorry about that. Think of something else, fast, before it gets stuck in your head!


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