Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

I don’t have any writing in me.

I have done interesting things, I’ve thought interesting thoughts, I’ve spent time with interesting people, but I’m blocked from writing.

I feel particularly bad about this episode of drypen, because I recently told my students that there was no such thing as Writer’s Block.  I said that there were only two reasons that people don’t write: Either they don’t have anything to say, or they don’t know how to say it.

Right now, though, I feel like there’s a third reason: the pressing weight of the world with its infinite distractions of quotidian life can crush the creative energy out of a person.  So, oops, I forgot to mention that to them. So sorry, students.

Who are these students? I’m no Socrates with enlightenment-seeking followers.  I was teaching a class at USC last semester called “Online Writing.”  It was fun; the students were sharp and interested, even when I was going over material that’s a little dry—for example, the lesson on punctuation.

I feel bad for not telling you readers about what happened after I made my earlier request for advice on how to deal with my sister.

Many answered with great advice.  There were a range of opinions, I think mostly because there’s a range of stages that I could be in with Staci (the sister who recently moved out of our house.)

But ultimately, it was one piece of advice that made the difference.  My question to you was: Should I talk to her, and what should I say to her?  The advice: If you were ready to talk and had something to talk about, you wouldn’t be asking for advice.

I think that’s really true.  While intellectually I feel like I ought to be talking to Staci, and I feel like we ought to be able to move on, when I actually picture myself picking up the phone and talking, I have to admit, realizstically, that we’d be arguing, or sitting through some pretty awkward silences.  So I’ll wait and when time’s passed, the day will come when I’ll be ready, she’ll be ready, and it won’t be forced.

Small tech note: you’ll see a few changes in the column over the next week.  Let me know if it’s displaying improperly for you.


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?




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