There was a while in the winter of 2002 – 2003 when I seemed to be unable to write at all. It didn’t help the for forty days straight of temperatures below twenty degrees Fahrenheit. I never wanted to leave the old house for class, and got far behind in my work. What writing I did produce was nowhere near the quality that I had achieved the preceding fall. The material felt even weaker than the work I had done on my earliest novellas. At least when writing those I could dump out pieces like so many worded magnets and rearrange them. For some reason, I seemed to have no more magnets within me when that winter hit. Unfortunately, the stakes for writing were high; I had been asked by a senior professor to write a novel under her guidance. This independent study gave me time to waste, time I didn’t have but took anyway. So I was left with only scraps of first chapters. Even with pre-writing I posted all over the walls of my single dorm room – time lines, character sketches, clusters, flow charts and some random sheets I just used for brainstorming – nothing seemed to assist me. I just kept digging what felt like my grave. In the middle of the block I went and saw a band at a club in Ann Arbor. They were in from New York City, but had a sexy Australian keyboardist who was wearing a Christmas sweater in March. I talked to her on a dare. She proved to be quite charming. Eventually I dumped my problem on her thin shoulders, and she had an answer right away, an answer that sticks with me now, and likely ever well. “There’s no such thing as writer’s block,” she said. “You just write something bad.” Hence this.

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