A couple days ago I quit my Facebook account to take a break from all the noise. For someone who lives and works alone, something like Facebook can be a quiet and effective way to stay in contact with colleagues, friends, family, and the various zeitgeists going around. But for someone like me who lives and works alone, it can also be a Dopamine Pez Dispenser, a ClikNLik that licks my brain with every click. It’s so easy to pour my heart out in posts and comments, much easier than slogging carefully through my work. It’s not the first time I’ve quit FB, but it’s the first time that I am happy about it. That’s good.
But the slogging through work — that’s bad. Ever since I blew out my career and my life with addiction and other maladies a decade ago, I have been unable to complete anything. No novel, no screenplay, nothing. Recently, a good friend and producer asked me to write a project she and a director had begun to develop. I hesitated because I didn’t want to let them down, but I liked the project enough and I like her energy and passion, so I said yes. But I have struggled for weeks with the most basic tasks of screenwriting and haven’t been able to come up with a complete outline. Yesterday, I had to let her know that I couldn’t do the job because I was slowing them down.
This is incredibly discouraging. I have to wonder if I ever can write again. Intellectually, I know I can, because my mind is full of great ideas. I read voraciously, and I watch films with the same curiosity and excitement I had twenty-five years ago, but I can’t translate any of my energy and drive into a complete project. I feel like I’m at a dangerous intersection, but I can’t just sit at the light forever. I have to go somewhere.