• Sophia

A Potion for Writer's Block

I think I’ve got something that could work. I’m pretty sure it will tilt the world enough to make the sunset split the sky and pour the passion you thought you’d lost back into the cauldron again.

First of all I must remind you that you are a quirky, questioning, yummy thing. I see the way your empathy pockmarks its way into despair, and how you carry on regardless. I see the sly grin that tells me you’ve always been your favourite seducer. There is a tundra in your mind that goes on forever. It is a living, wild place that is yours alone to explore. You’ll never know if you’re a trespasser or an invited guest, and you’re past the point of caring. Because you can make whole cities sprout from nothing, or slow the songbird’s shrill call to a heartbeat’s pulse.

When you emerge after being away, the mist of that neverwhere kingdom is still on your skin. It flows off you when you stand in line to order your coffee. Maybe you’re escaping into it or maybe it’s using you to experience this side of the proverbial tracks. It’s a game of whose ghosts are whose.

There have been times when all it took was a twist of the light to start one word tapping into another until a full sentence was dispensed from your mind into your mouth. You held it on your tongue in a pool of electric joy and transferred its essence to the page before it had time to evaporate or be swallowed. This was all you needed to spot the gap in the curtain and move through, your hands shaking with the halting rhythm of your pen. There is a moment of helpless longing that takes over as you let yourself fall, flatten out, forget. Whatever the story might become, it picks you up and sets you coasting down a river of submissive rapture.

But not today. Today your hands rustle through the fabric and find no light shining through. You are stuck on this side, sick with worry at being so unceremoniously cut off.

Calm down. It isn’t what you think it is. This isn’t the cold war. No wall has sprung up overnight. The theatre hasn’t burned down. This is simply a suggestion to go for a nice, long walk. Without your notebook. Without your camera. Without your phone.

My prescription is one of old-fashioned raw data transference. You are to take your body on an elaborate outing. Indulge it with vibrant food and sweet music. Let it dance badly and complete repetitive tasks, work itself like a chemistry set concocting elixirs of hormones and electrical impulses.

Think of it as a trade agreement between realms. The secrets your flesh tucks into itself when you’re not looking become a valued currency in the whispering world you crave. The fire needs fuel or the pot won’t simmer. It’s not going to boil over; you’re just going to have to leave it and trust the right flavours to find their way in.

In terms of quantity, I suggest a minimum of three lusty doses a week, with periodic plunges into the deep unknown for that extra kick of metaphorical spice. This should be something awe-inducing enough to act as a spiritual scrub down, but not so intense that you begin to distrust your own furniture. I mean, fly with the eagles and all of that, but keep it practical.

While I charge no formal fee for service, I do have an affinity for honest, succulent lines scribbled on scraps of paper and handed to me in a conspiratorial manner. Or you can just think of me the next time you eat chocolate. Do me a favour and don’t just chew; let it melt a little. Do that and I’d say we’re even.

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