Jeremy Clarke is suffering from writer's block, so he joins the anti-road protest at Fair Mileby Jeremy Clarke / March 20, 1997 / Leave a comment
It has been said of writers that there are those who can write, those who can think, and the blessed few who can both write and think. I am beginning to think that I can do neither. A very sad state of affairs indeed for someone who has set out in mid-life to master a word processor and earn a living from it.
I have been a professional freelance writer for exactly a year now. I have modified my appearance slightly by affecting rimless spectacles and by shaving less often. I have also bought some shiny blue filing cabinets and had some business cards printed which state (with a modesty that isn?t entirely false): “Jeremy Clarke?so-called writer.” But the actual process of writing is turning out to be a far trickier business than I imagined.
Of course, there are prose writers and journalists who seem to manage miracles of communication with little apparent effort. And there are poets who, with a felicitous phrase or two, can strum a chord that movingly resonates with our innermost feelings. But speaking for myself, I might as well forget it. My main problem is that with every sentence I write, there is always a fundamental aphasic dissonance between the vague schizoid abstractions that are occurring in my brain and the words I choose to commit to my computer. Pathological dishonesty may have something to do with it; but most of the problem, I am afraid, is down to sheer thick-headedness.
I sit at my desk to write an article. I bash the switch on my multi-media computer and that bloody cooling fan starts up. After reflecting for a moment, I begin a sentence intended to encapsulate and convey one of my thoughts to an imaginary reader. By the time I get to the end of it I find I have conveyed something utterly different. I let my inadvertent sentence stand however, and I try to punctuate it. At the moment I am having a crisis of confidence about my commas. (All my life I have been absolutely convinced you put them in when you want to say to the reader, “All right, you can breathe now.” According to a stentorian punctuation guide I read recently, I have been misinformed.) Sometimes I find myself confronted with a hiatus in the middle of a sentence where a comma, a semicolon, a colon, a dash or…