Writer’s Block? Explained.

May 2, 2015

I’m struggling! You’re reading substantive post No. 391 here, and I’ve missed my 7 a.m. deadline. That’s been happening more and more often, and for a man whose professional life revolves around deadlines, it’s embarrassing.

No, it’s not about sleeping in, or even about playing hard and not getting my work done. Instead, I’m feeling the slightest bit of writer’s block. I thought about contacting my PCP for a referral to a specialist. Then, I researched the subject. There’s no DSM-IV diagnostic code for it, and Big Pharma has not developed a drug, so … never mind about bringing health care into the mix.

There will be a post about pizza tomorrow. When I started writing it I considered changing Mark Rubin Writes to Pizza.24.7. I could post a picture every day, throw in a caption, and call it a day. Alas, and with respect for one of my subjects in tomorrow’s post, even pizza can get boring.

Having discarded medical care and pizza, I dug deep into my psyche and thought about why I’m having this challenge. The writing is not the problem. Time is not an issue either. And then it hit me. I’ve been writing 75-200 words on lots of subjects, and scrapping much of what I’ve written.

So what have I been scrapping? Well, let’s start with race in America. (For the latest from Baltimore, read 6 Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Freddie Gray Death by Alan Blinder and Richard Pérez-Peña for the New York Times for details about the Baltimore incident.) Frankly, I can’t figure out how to address this issue. That we have a crisis should be indisputable. That we’re not dealing with it is self-evident. That the situation has been developing for decades is obvious. And the fact that steam has blown the top off the pot while we have an African-American resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue cannot be a coincidence. Still, I don’t believe I can add anything meaningful to the mix.

Next up is guns. (Here from ABC News, from May 1, is Police: Arizona 2-Year-Old Grabs Gun, Shoots Himself in Face.) I’ve started several pieces on guns, and even posted Guns on April 9, 2014. Here, I wrestle with What’s the point? We’ve got a lobbying group for the gun manufacturers, spewing forth about freedom, self defense, and crime (and intimidating our leaders so greatly that the issue gets ignored, unless a Congresswoman or a bunch of children get shot, but only if they all get shot at the same time), while two-year-olds shoot themselves in the face because daddy is so fucking stupid he left the gun rolled up in a sheet in the bed. And into this mix the world needs someone else to write about the inanity?

Then, of course, there’s Israel. I dabble just a touch here too, having written Israel and the Self-Hating Jew on March 22 of this year. On this subject I’m intimidated, candidly, by some of the machers who are so dismissive of anyone who believe in Israel: Right or wrong.

Finally, I do think about writing about religion and its role in our nation from time to time. And on that subject, Oy! ’Nuff said!

So what’s the common theme? I’m dabbling around the edges. Certainly, same-sex marriage matters. (I was with a couple yesterday, and I can see and hear the stress associated with waiting for a Court ruling.) The court system is important, as is information about estate planning and other legal subjects. And, for sure, a pizza or burger story adds to the mix. Nevertheless, there are really big issues I’m not addressing, and I’m frustrated on account of that.

I’d like for this piece to be the intro to “More Important Subjects Coming Soon.” Alas, I’m really sharing with you the fact that I know I’m not hitting the hard stuff. Maybe someday, perhaps! For now, though, expect more of what you’ve been getting, with the knowledge that I know I’m passing on some of the really tough issues we face.


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