Sunday, February 25, 2007

Have Written Before, Will Write Again

Been walking around lately in a state of near panic. More than a week since I last wrote. Feeling high and dry. No topic nudges nor pulls. No meme tags nor tugs.

Is this the 13th-blog block?

(Oh, Verna, how can I ever make it to 213?!)

Pining says not to worry; it happens to her, too. Toe says she felt she had hit bottom too after her No. 8 and urges me to blog about being unable to blog. Sexy mom and Rhoda react coolly, confident I should be back and writing in no time.

And here comes Ernie, my old, faithful friend Ernie, with his simple reminder: "YOU HAVE WRITTEN BEFORE, YOU WILL WRITE AGAIN."

Ernie, seasoned writer that he was, periodically suffered from writer's block too. And when that happened, all he did was: " THINK OF THE TRUEST THING I CAN THINK OF. THEN I WRITE ABOUT IT."

He makes sense, doesn't he? Good, old Ernie. My true love Ernie. Ernest Hemingway to most.

Ernie goes on to say that if we want to see things clearly, we should try going hungry. Emptiness purges the insides, opens the third eye, reveals the occult. Then floodgates open, words and ideas tumble out in torrents. -- when we run empty.

And I remember once again the poignant story of Ernie going hungry in Paris.

Ernie was then a young correspondent in France, with a wife and a baby, and was being paid for each piece he submitted. Most of the time his check got soooooo delayed, because it was war time, you see. (Which makes me imagine an overwrought postman, his mailbag a shield, zigging and zagging to avoid the crossfires.)

So sometimes, he went dry too, my Ernie. And not only in the place where the writing comes from but where we need to fill'er up with bread and meat and other gross stuff we sometimes wish we don't need.

And well, one day, with no more dollars (franks?) and cents in his pocket, and scarcely enough in the pantry to feed two, Ernie went out of his unheated, upper-floor apartment, telling Mrs. Ernie to go ahead, finish the food, because he, Ernie, had been invited out --implicitly to lunch.

On the way to where he was presumably invited, Ernie carefully avoided the sidewalk cafes Paris was known for, then as now. It wouldn't do for his already grumbling stomach, of course, to smell the scents of bread baking, coffee brewing, gravy simmering.

So Ernie, poor Ernie, took the long route to the Louvre, where he filled himself up with food -- for the soul. How much more luminous the Mona Lisa looked, he exclaimed, when viewed on an empty stomach. How much more vividly he saw colors and how much more sharply he perceived nuances behind canvas!

Satiated, Ernie came home, no longer needing to avoid the kitchen scents of roadside cafes. The gut-emptiness now forgotten, he wrote, wrote, wrote.

Now, excuse me while I drink drink drink. No lunch for me today.

Have you tried the Hemingway way?

Otherwise, what works for you on days the writing muse fails you?

(Note 1: This Hemingway vignette, recounted and paraphrased with much unpoetic license, is from the autobiographical (Paris is) A Moveable Feast.)


kathy said...

Wow, you surely blogged back with a vengeance! And with a vignette to boot.

I've also experienced this so-called "blogger's block" as well. It's nice to know that others experience it, too. I feel so relieved. :)

While it is true that in blogging we get these urges, these tugs to blog about something we passionately feel about (you know - blog or burst!), unfortunately, there are also these so-called "high and dry" moments. But I have to absolutely agree with Pareng Erning - we have blogged before, we will blog again. :)

sexy mom said...

dear ernie is an inspiration not only to us, writers, but dieters as well.

you have not even started with your lunchless and "waterful" days, yet you have already come up with a good piece, just talking about dear ernie.

jerry said...

What do I do when the Muse fails me? When I go to sleep, I ask my unconscious to work for me .. then i forget about it. The next morning, while doing the morning you know what, somethinig pops up, a word, an idea, an image. The unconscious -- aka the Muse-- delivers again.

Alina said...

Mommy, when I don't know what to write, I reread my diaries. When that fails, I read yours. (Quits na tayo, ha? mommy lab

Gaizabonts said...

scroll down a bit on this page to read the poem "Advice to Writers"

The unpoetic license is well used :)

annamanila said...

Kathy! Even Parent Ernie suffers from writer's block ha. So how's that for good company?!

annamanila said...

Yes, I wrote of the truest thing, didn't I even before I went into water therapy. An inspiration to dieters! Ikaw talaga. The one, the only sexy mom!! I find you cute that way you know.

annamanila said...

Jerry! LTNS! I do that in a way -- programming the unconscious ... i think that's how it's called. Yes, it's also the Muse, on vacation. One has to summon her back.

annamanila said...

Bonch!! Brat. Labs.

annamanila said...


Thanks for the advice to writers. What I am getting is that I have to rid my mind of excess baggage (and cobwebs) before I can write luminous pieces. Hmmmm Well, at least Advice to Writers is so radiantly written. Will read Billy Collins again. And Gaizabonts too. :) And yes, I am very licentiious.

Toe said...

I like that story about Ernie. I think I will starve myself tomorrow. :) Kaya ko kaya? Baka 9:00 pa lang, mamatay na ko.. hehe! :)

Try free-writing. You put yourself in a meditative mode (deep breaths, relax, etc.), and just write for 15 minutes in your notebook without lifting your pen. Write about anything and everything that goes into your mind. Don't worry about grammar, spelling, or even making sense. Helps me a lot. 15 minutes is good but an hour is pure bliss.

Another thing that helps me, before I write a blog entry, I say to myself, I'm going to write the most boring and the most horrible blog entry in the whole world... removes the pressure immensely.

exskindiver said...

Just tell us what you are grateful for.

Abaniko said...

Annamanila, that's why they say a digital camera is a blogger's companion. Sometimes, a single picture saves the day. Wordless post, ika nga. :)

annamanila said...

Toe! Starve? Nooooo!! Skip a meal? Yeees. Skip your second breakfast? heehee. Tell me what happens. Sabi nga ni S'mom even if it doesnt help us write better, it just might help us reduce weight faster. :)

Meditative writing? Is that anyting like automatic writing? Sarap naman if a force outside (or inside us) does the writing for us and all we have is to write automatically. That was how the well-read the "Conversations with God" series was presumably written. I just might try it one of these days.

annamanila said...


What am I grateful for? Well, at the moment, that you visited! And that you posted that cryptic comment! :)

annamanila said...


At the moment, ode2old's policy is "no pictures." But that policy is open to change -- soon as I get a digital camera, soon as I learn how to shoot, then to upload. Etc. etc. :)

kate said...

hahaha natawa ako dun sa i-read-your-diary-to-cure-writers-block exchange. :D

Leah said...

I sometimes think if what I write in my blog is of any value to anyone. It is not as poignant or as interestig or as prolific as some of the recent blogs I've visited lately. I've discovered so many good writers (you included) and I delight in all of their entries. I say to myself, I can learn from all of them. Reading your entry today entry made it more enticing to come back. so keep on!

Pining said...

There you go... a signature Annamanila post.. inspiring as ever!

vernaloo said...

I don't think we will run out of ideas or topics to write about. The problem really is are we inspired to write about it or not.

Last week I was a glass half-empty...pessimism is written all over me that my entry "Ano ka sa palagay mo?" was a trying hard entry.

It comes and it goes Anna...see you wrote something great again :)

Don't're blogfriends will stick around to wait in case you'll have another attack hehe basta stick around ka rin pag kami naman ang hindi inspired magsulat hrhrhr

dimaks said...

hmm blog lock.. i think i've felt something like it, but no worries i think, as long as you are determined to come back and willing to give out better or excellent pieces one day :)

i think, a good writer can even write about his inability to write :) at some point in time.

annamanila said...


Put words into her mouth ... hahaha

annamanila said...


I delight in your entries too. I like your book lists and your mini reviews. I loved Tuesdays with Morrie too ... that should make a great movie, di ba? Plus you show us great pictures. Ganda ng mga antiques.

Yes, we blogges delight in and learn from each other. (Blog) friends forever!!! :)

annamanila said...


Sa palagay ko, that wasn't too bad for something coming out of half-empty. Delubyo na naman ng responses. :)

Thanks for assurance Verna you will always stand by, blog or blob.

annamanila said...


Talaaga? Ikaw din you get jawlock? Este bloglock? Yup, I guess all of us are afflicted one time or other.

Hey, kumusta na kaya ang Pare mo. So unlike him to be unheard of for 2 weeks. Starting to get worried and pray.

sexy mom said...

oh, yes, anna, we are 2 funny hearts!!! don't you agree?

Belle TH said...


i am one of your secret readers but haven't had the courage to leave comments until now. you are an eloquent writer, bow talaga ako. i especially like the story you wrote about naida. meron pa bang katulad ni naida ngayon? after i read it, i thought about the bobbitizing incident years ago, remember?

annamanila said...

Sexy mom!

Wow, talaga ha, Promise ha. Pero alam ko mas sexy ka sa akin. hahaha (Blog) friends forever, okay?!

annamanila said...

Belle! Coming from you, who has a wonderful blog site too, that's high praise.

I didn't know someone was reading Naida's story, since its tucked up in another blogsite. I got a few more such stories. I just haven't posted because I wasn't sure it had an audience. Meron pa bang Nadia these days? They're a vanishing breed. Who knows that she didn't make the right choices ha?

houseband00 said...

A Moveable... is my favorite. Mang Ernie can really dish it out.

I hope you hurdle the block, Anna. =)

annamanila said...


Fave mo din pala si friend Ernie. Tragic story nya ano? I still haven't found out why he took his own life. Have you?

Thanks. I think I have overcome LOL. Until the next block!

sexy mom said...

yes, blog friends forever, now you have written with vengeance, i like your piece on "when you can't spare the rod". O2O is also its home, you should post it here.

and dear Anna, that post in PMN really opened up the trauma of the past...perhaps writing the comments was my closure, it was the final healing. and boy! i did talk about it with my mother who lives with me. forgive if i must, chapter in my life which should have been closed a long time ago, is now closed.

faith said...

Ms anna,

If you could come up with something THIS good while on a bloglock, I can only surmise what more if you're on a roll.

btw, your accounts of women betrayed/healed has convinced me that you could dish out advice excellently.

Prab said...

Err. Does my connection difficulty merit me a perfect excuse?If not then I might need to starve myself for a month. lol

Anyway, I agree, if this is how you write on a bad day, I wonder how you'd write on a good one. :)

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