The “Off-Season”


Today I am sitting in the wi-fi lounge of the church I’ve been attending for the last year. A tranquility fountain bubbles just to the side of me, and calming instrumental music plays overhead. I sit alone in a plush chair in a dimly-light corner, with a faux-fire blinking LED warmth, and church announcements flash in a silent slideshow on a large screen television.

I came out here because I had the day off, and thought it would be a good place to write. I’ve done this from time to time. It’s a large church with the building open most of the day. So, especially during the ho-hum of the workday, there are plenty of nooks and crannies for the reflective to hide and find solace. All in all, it’s the perfect place for a writer.

So, I’ve been sitting here all afternoon, with my laptop and all the willpower in the world, and nothing remotely artistic comes out of my fingers. 

I miss my writing. The thing about being a writer, especially if you’re attempting to do it professionally, is that the income waxes and wanes. Sometimes, you have to step back from it, and make money doing something else for a bit…in my case it’s usually retail.  Then, after a while, another opportunity will open up, and you’ll start writing again so much, that you won’t be able to keep up with the deadlines, the work is coming in so fast. At least that’s the way it’s worked for me over the last couple of decades. 

I’ve been in the “off” season for about a year now, and my heart longs for the “on” season. The thing about the off-season, I’ve found, is that I get so busy and consumed with the daily business of living, that I can’t tap into the creative flow. I look at old drafts with all the inspiration of a pair of sweaty old sneakers. UGH. I try to write, and end up deleting everything, and even my trusted notebook of inspiration, is just full of doodles as I try to whip creativity into submission. 

   But I sure do miss my writing. I miss sitting down in the afternoon to write, and typing away, barely noticing that the light outside the windows has turned to black, and then, faded back into the pink hues of dawn. Yes, that’s happens quite often when I’m really writing.  

   I miss the “magical” feeling of typing along, and hearing in my head a word or phrase that goes perfectly with what I’m trying to write. I miss writing dialogue, and the surprise as my character does something completely different than I expected. I miss the glow of the “last sentence.” That is, that sort of voila moment, when the last sentence of a piece comes to you, and you type it out, and you know, that it’s the perfect way to end of the piece. You know, with those final words, you’ve said everything that needs to be said, and it is finished.

  I miss all of it.

I miss doing what I love, and what I was created to do. I miss doing the only thing in this world that I’m actually good at. I miss the e-mails from editors telling me they love the piece, instead of the “well, it’ll do,” shrug of my current bosses at my feeble attempts to hit retail sales quotas.

I really miss my writing. I wish I could somehow find my way back to it. 

I know I will, because that’s the way that life as an artist works. Your art will always find its way to you, in some form or fashion. I’ve come to terms with life as an artist. My most ardent prayer these days, is that it will come back to me soon. 

Given that I’m sitting in a church, I guess I’m in the right place to pray that.


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