Briefly, Not on Writer’s Block

A few days ago, I remember having had an idea about a story I thought might be worth writing down. As it happened, the thought occurred to me while I was driving along US 290 west of Dripping Springs, and that is not a good place to pull off to the side of the road to take notes. By the time I got to where I could pull off, the idea was gone, a squirrel scampering across the highway and into the surrounding brush.

You know what you did…
Photo by Joseph Yu on

It’s not the first time such a thing has happened to me, of course; it is a frustratingly frequent occurrence, in fact. The opposite of writer’s block, it is instead too free a flow of ideas; there needs to be a dam across the irregular stream, something to catch at and slow the spurts that gush out from time to time. But I am not built so well as to have such a thing in me, clearly.

I imagine the issue is related in some way to the Asimovian Eureka phenomenon, explicated in an essay of the same name. Ideas upon which the subconscious mind has worked emerge into conscious thought amid relaxation or distraction–and it is the case that driving through the Hill Country during wildflower season provides distractions in plenty, not only squirrels darting across the highway and deer, or the occasional armadillo looking to pose with a beer can, nor yet only a possum snooping around the inside of a mobile home. They may not be relaxing, as such, but they still divert conscious attention from other matters, allowing the subconscious mind to work on other things and vomit them up, undigested cud, to be gnawed upon and fermented further–or else spewed out all of a sudden and flushed away.

The handle on my toilet gets a lot of use.

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Or do the human thing, and send some support along!


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