I had Writer’s Block for a long time and it drove me crazy. Over a year ago, I had an idea for a terrific play about a meeting between Albert Einstein and Paul Robeson. I spent months and months researching and thinking. I made hundreds of notes, copied dozens of quotations, read several books, even outlined the play, but I couldn’t hear their voices and couldn’t shape the piece. A friend suggested that I rework it as a vaudeville sketch but I couldn’t get my mind around that one either.
All that work is lying in the Mac land of the lost.
I worked on a project involving music and history which I loved doing. When that fell apart, I hit the wall.
I tried the writing exercises. I wrote about a painting, an object, a conversation I’d overheard. I wrote for ten minutes without stopping. I did it again. Nothing. Again. I stared at the computer waiting for something, anything.
One day, I found myself clicking on dozens of youtube versions of Casta Diva. I listened to Rosa Ponselle, Marian Anderson, Maria Callas, Renee Fleming, and more, and was beginning to memorize the words, when I thought, “You’ve already written a play about opera singers!”
What I did do is improve as a cook. My basil chicken with parmesan and tomatoes is tasty, the carrot muffins are nutritious and moist, and one day, when doing my staring at the computer, I remembered an old recipe for a really good meatloaf. I watched more episodes of Top Chef than one can safely do without permanently impairing her worldview and I can now chop onions with the best.
The rugs were vacuumed, the closets organized, and the bookshelves dusted.
And the mind was swept clean.
MARIAN ANDERSON SINGS CASTA DIVATweet