There is a tyranny in knowledge, an oppressive regime of awareness. If ignorance is bliss, then knowing is Hell.
For perhaps a month now, I have suffered from Writer’s Block — why did I capitalize “Writer’s Block” I wonder? Is it a Named Thing, an Entity in itself, rather than a state of my own being? — of a depth and intensity I cannot recall having previously suffered. This is not to say that I have never suffered from it before; I have many times stared at a blank page or screen, or sat re-reading the last paragraph I wrote in a story over and over trying to force the next words to come. But at least then I managed to bring myself to the table (or desk, as it were) and lay my fingers upon the keyboard before uncertainty, fear, inattention of simple laziness stopped me. This past month, I have not even managed that. I have gone well past my usual procrastination — using exercise or video games or whatever to push off opening up Google Docs — and moved into active avoidance, fearful skulking as if being hunted, like my Muse had been transformed into a hungry beast.
I realized that the Writer’s Block had taken control yesterday when, between rounds of Blizzard’s new, highly addictive card game Hearthstone, I actually did the dishes, folded the laundry and cleaned up the dog shit just to have something to do besides going downstairs and writing. Upon realizing this, I was forced to ask myself, “Why?” What was so terrible that I could not even bring myself to simply re-read, let alone revise, a story I have been sitting on for ages? It is not as if I am not thinking about stories and writing and game design and all the other things I usually think about while running or driving or reading (I often have difficulty focusing on a well written piece because it will inspire my own imagination and thought processes; oh, the irony).
It hit me while I was procrastinating via the Internet (if some malevolent force wanted life and progress to come to a grinding halt so it could conquer us all, it could have designed no more perfectly insidious a weapon than the World Wide Web). I was reading something linked from SF Signal about writing and selling and publishing, when it all came crashing into my mind at once: the many thousands of books selling single digit copies on Amazon, the millions of blogs and websites (just like this one) with one or two hits per post, the ridiculous success of some very few apparently randomly selected works. For a while now I have been reading blogs and magazines and columns by writers and editors and publishers (self and otherwise) and it all distills to a singular fact: in this noise, whatever words I have, however valid or entertaining or unique, I am but a whisper in the din of a hurricane.
Futility. That is the knowledge I gained, and it crushes me.