Flash in the Pan

Art All the Time

Month: May, 2012

Writer’s Block

by Samantha Capps

I am not sure when it started, that feeling of dread when I sit down with a blank Word document, that self-loathing as I type out a mess of malformed sentences and immediately delete them, the disappointment as I close the window and browse Tumblr in an attempt to distract myself from another failed attempt. I can’t write. Everything that comes out seems stilted, fake, dumb. I’ve been here before, but it’s been a long time. I remember days when I was first trying to write a novel, and I rewrote Chapter One over and over and over again because each time I hated it. No progress was made. Eventually I gave up.

Something changed eventually, though, and it wasn’t my skill. I stopped being so self-aware and critical. I stopped caring about how good what I wrote was. I stopped fearing failure. I decided to stop indulging in these thoughts that were blocking my progress. And from that came an unstoppable flow of energy and productivity. In a month, I wrote my first short story, which came to 40 single-spaced pages. That summer, I wrote my first novel.

Both of these creations are abysmally written. I want to burn both of them.

But if I hadn’t written my whiny, angsty short story and novel at the age of fourteen, I wouldn’t have gone on to write more mature and better written stories that earned me a Regional Gold Key Portfolio Award in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (the highest award at the regional level) my senior year of high school. I wouldn’t have been able to complete my creative writing BA at Warren Wilson, and I wouldn’t be going to a writing retreat on a full scholarship in two weeks.

Why, now that the wall of procrastination and unworthiness is once again in my way, why am I so afraid? I’ve been here before. I can climb this wall again. It’s time to go back and face these old fears. I am ready.



by Samantha Capps

Life is beautiful and weird and surprising and every time I think I have it figured out, something jumps out at me, out of nowhere to remind me just how much I don’t know, how inscrutable the future is, how hazy the past is, how even the present is obscure, hidden behind discrete intentions and words whispered from one ear to another that someday, maybe, might reach me in the future and then I know that what I thought about the present moment was wrong and that the truth is blinding, devastating, sharing only a brief glimpse of the full picture, and with each day I wake up knowing that I am part of a knitted existence, one stitch that cannot possibly conceive of the unity of the whole but is aware that there is a whole, there must be, or how could I fit so perfectly in this space with my neighbors and my solitude, and on days when I feel the hopelessness returning I know that I am wrong, that surprising are always out there, that even if in the end we die alone and without the full knowledge we seek, there will be days when we sense the whole and feel our place and feel that here, right now, something is happening that fits perfectly in the woven strands of time from the back then to the now to the one day, and here I am, in the midst of all, in awe.