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Page 179

Writer's block lacks the tease of tip-o'-the-tongue groping.
(I particularly relish the tip of my tongue groping for
the tip of HER tongue -- or tip of any part of her,
or a sirloin tip, yes, nothing like this lusty
English tongue!) With writer's block, one doesn't have,
usually, that certainty that something's there
to be said, that one knows exactly what it is,
this word one can't quite say to oneself.

Writer's block is more like the restlessness
of one who can't get off the phone,
must listen politely, grunt all the appropriate grunts:
"Uhuh...yes...I know...Oh no, that's all right...uhhuh uhhuh...
I see what you mean..."; and while the monologue dribbles on,
one doodles with pen or pencil, draws an ornate A
(perhaps for "asshole!"), and goes round it over and over,
thickening its outline, adding new curlicues, aimless,
distant -- that's how it feels to write when one can't write.

We say we're blank, but really we're involved
in too many boring mental conversations, are too polite
to tell our minds to shut up -- think that, like a boring friend,
the mind is needed. We are dispersed among the billion things
we should or shouldn't have said, but didn't or did, attention
so thinly buttered all over our known universe,
there's scarcely enough left to complete a doodle,
much less an iambic line that will be able to stand
on its own five feet.

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