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Monday, February 7, 2011

Water Over (and Under) the Dam

Between working Saturday, chopping ice off the driveway, making killer chili and watching Green Bay Go. All. The. Way. I hadn’t a clue what I’d write for Middle Passages this morning. Over the last several days, ice dams on our roof have caused minor leaking above the family room window. When those gutter-clogging nightmares began backing up, they reminded me of writer’s block. The water trapped behind the impenetrable ridge embodied the flow of words locked inside a frozen brain. Water on a roof has to find an outlet. The liquid that dripped into buckets on the back of our couch trickled in like the ideas that pop up when you don’t expect them—in the middle of the night—or when you are singing in the shower. Only, I wasn't getting any of those.

Over the weekend, we did some Googling. We discovered that if you chop off the legs of old pantyhose, fill them with ice-melt, knot them and lay them vertically down the edge of your roof, drooping over the gutter, it creates ridges in the ice and gives the water a conduit in which to travel. For the time being it worked.

Laying in bed early today, listening to water dripping off the house in above-freezing temperatures, I pondered the best method to apply ice-melt to my brain. What could I use to carve a clear channel, ensuring that words would flow as easily as the snow, thawing off the top of our house? Here’s where synchronicity rolled in. My first email today came from WM Freelance Writers’ Connection and contained a post called: Blizzard Brainstorm: Using Prompts to Keep your Writing Flowing. The article contains two links to websites that provide prompts to writers.

I’m pretty sure things warming up already.



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14 comments:

Colette said...

Yup, we need some warm days to melt all that ice. So far we just had a minor leak in the basement where a dehumidifier hose backed up.

Wine and Words said...

It's just hard for me to imagine. Here in central California it was a warm weekend...shorts weather acccording to my husband but not quite for me. I did squat in a field of mustard weed and listen to the insects drone in happy inebriation. Felt like spring.

jbchicoine said...

Nice analogy, Liza. Ive always thought of writer's block as a state of 'frozen' too--sort of like permafrost, but I like the backed up gutter better!

And thanks for the links--I'll certainly check them out...

Kittie Howard said...

Here's hoping this monster weather melts into blue skies soon. That pantyhose idea is terrific! Thanks for the links, great ice melts for the brain...as was your super post...it's comforting to know others feel the same at time.

Bish Denham said...

YEAH! The thaw is happening here as well.

Mary Vaughn said...

Our governor came to our city to tell us how bad we had it. So glad, otherwise I'd never have guessed.
This is one crazy winter and is leaving behind ideas for many stories -- especially of the "what if" kind.
Great writing to you!

Martha Ruth said...

We're expecting another 2 to 4 inches tonight. (sigh) Will it ever be Spring in the Northeast? It sure doesn't seem like a possibility this year.

Loved your analogy and I can totally relate. I've lost something in the past couple of months and I don't know if I can get it back...

Hope you aren't in the path of this impending onslaught of white hell too. Stay warm and DRY.

Martha

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Well, I hope you're not draping pantyhose off your head! :D
May you have a week of many thaws.

The Empress said...

I understand this wonderful analogy.

What I discovered by accident, is how music can trigger all sorts of writing action on my part.

How I didn't think of something that obvious to me, I don't know.

I always thought you needed quiet to write!!!

Erin MacPherson said...

Maybe some coffee will ice-melt your brain?! Hope it's warming up over there!

Talei said...

I hope it's thawing out soon. We've had a very blue sky here and the sun - almost spring like! ;)

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, who knew you could do that for the gutter? And so applicable to writing--if only we could get the words to melt out of our heads. Ha!

E.J. Wesley said...

Wish I had some of your 'killer chili' tonight! So hungry ... :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Oh man, sorry to hear about the water leakage! Those moments are just awful! Hope it can get fixed without too much cost.

Hate it when the words don't flow easily either. Usually I'll force myself to keep writing through it, but that often results in junk you have to edit the heck out of. But I've found that doing something like taking a shower or driving will help!