Nothing Comes to Mind


I recently paid a much needed visit to my home town of Batavia, Illinois. It was brief, but helped.  It’s good to get back in touch with your roots … if you have any. That’s a tough one for me, because I often feel like I don’t belong anywhere as I’ve moved so much. But in the shade of the trees of Illinois I did find some breathing room and space to relax. I reflected on how much I have always wanted to be a writer, and I guess that in some ways I am … though, most of my writing is academic. I’ve always wanted to write creatively (novels, poems, short stories, etc). I used to be able to write about any experience I had and capture something essential and universal about the human experience. I could end up writing something about the way someone looked at me at a coffee shop, or the dynamic between two people I observed. I think I’ve lost that creative ability somewhere along the way when my anxiety got bad, so that’s really disappointing. Now when I sit down to write, nothing comes to mind. I used to overflow with ideas and have outlines for novels or short stories… tid bits of lines I could turn into poems… but now, I feel like I don’t have anything to say anymore, which saddens me. I have tried all sorts of things to get started again, like writing for half an hour each day, writing 250 words each day, doing erasure poetry to give me something to start with … anything. Nothing has stuck or worked. I guess you could say thinking about a dissertation or any academic writing doesn’t necessarily kill creativity, but it may dampen the flowery language that seemed to previously flow out of me. I’m not sure how to get it back. I had plans and ideas to write fiction for young girls, dealing with sexuality, horror stories, fantasy … everything and anything. Nothing ever got finished or even off to a good start. I’ve started to come to the conclusion that maybe my creativity is meant to be expressed in some other way, or maybe I just haven’t found how to get the motivation or inspiration to start again… we’ll see.

In the past, I think I’d be able to weave something poetic and inspiring together about the above photo of myself in one of my favorite trees near the Fabyan Forest Preserve … but again, nothing comes to mind. I don’t feel like I have anything worthwhile to say. It was touching in a sad sort of way to see some of the etchings in the trees a bit faded and overgrown since I last visited… the heart had faded, but it was comforting that some of my favorite trees from my childhood were still there, even one huge oak tree on the playground/fields of my elementary school. That type of continuity calms me when I feel like everything else in my life is so chaotic and I have no mooring.

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