Have you ever been cruising along on a pleasant little road trip with the top down, wind in your hair, enjoying the music on the radio when you crest a hill to find traffic at an abrupt stop? You hit the brakes, put it in neutral and sit. Eventually, the open top is an encumbrance, unfiltered access to the baking sun. The former breeze is now still, tainted with heat radiating up from the pavement and laced with the scent of burning oil and diesel. The radio plays nothing but white noise due to the gigantic cell tower off to the right and you’re pretty sure those three buzzards are doing a regular fly by over your car. You’ve hit a roadblock and your pleasant day has turned sour. That road trip is where I’ve been.
In reality, my girlfriend and I just got back from a 1,500 mile round trip adventure to Iowa City for a graduation party. The traffic was light, the weather was nice and except for stops at three separate fast-food joints, all at different exits, to placate the 5 kids in the back, it was a good trip. The road block I experienced was in my mind.
It’s happened before. I skip a day of writing and then two days turn into three, four, and five. Doubt sets in and I find a million convenient excuses for not picking up a pen. Then, the bad voice starts talking. The one who says,
“You’re kidding yourself. You are not a writer. You are just wasting time. Give it up. Your house would be cleaner and you could get the filing done. Can you believe you were considering submitting that? You have nothing interesting to say. No one cares about your stupid stories. There are people out there who are real artists. You don’t belong with them. Seriously, just give it up.”
And, I start to listen to that voice a little… a lot actually. Doubt and Sadness take up residence in the back seat and they are needy. They need a bathroom break and a snack and Sadness is thirsty but we are stuck on the road together with nowhere to go. But then, out of the blue, the radio starts working and I hear a good song, one with a clever line of lyrics that gets my mind going. Then, I find a new magazine while waiting in line at Tractor Supply to buy chicken feed and it might make a good market for that barn story I have on the back burner.
Before you know it, the traffic starts to crawl. Brake lights flicker and a breeze starts to stir. We pass the roadblock for now. There will be another one, up the road, but right now, it feels good to put my foot back on the gas.