Imagine for a moment that you are a writer. Imagine that you write a weekly column for a well-respected local newspaper. You hope people read it and that they even look forward to it each week. You enjoy sitting down once a week to give your perspective on innumerable topics, shedding light, sharing thoughts and hopefully bringing smiles and laughter into your readers’ homes. Imagine that.
And now imagine sitting down to write your weekly column only to discover that you have a case of “Writer’s Block”. This is said to be a common thing amongst writers and poets. But for me, this sudden case of writers’ block is not manifesting itself in the usual form. As I started to furiously type my musings, I suddenly noticed that the words I entered were not appearing correctly on my screen. All of the “A’s” and “C’s” and “S’s” had suddenly gone missing. Seriously? Is this happening?
Wht is a poor writer of newpper artile on dedline to do without the letter A, the letter C and the letter S? I look bak over my rtil only to diover tht three very important lette re miing. Now this is Writer’s Block. Suddenly everything I wrote was a bbbling trem of gibberih. Miing letter dd up to whole lot of muddle! Word unexpetedly mking no ene t ll. None. Oh brother!
Yes folks, a writer without the letters “A”, “C”, and “S”, is no writer at all. Indeed. This got me wondering and panicking. I once heard about a famous novel penned in 1939, Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright. He wrote the entire story, over 50,000 words, without ever once using the letter “E”. Gosh! The poor guy couldn’t even include his own name on the cover! Me? I cannot fathom doing such a thing. I cannot even manage 500 words with this debilitating disorder. Heck, I can’t even think of words without “A”, “C”, and “S”. Wow. I’m in trouble. (Note: The novel Gadsby is not to be confused with the ultra-famous The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.)
As I sit in front of my computer, sorely missing the use of three very important letters, I imagine myself throwing my laptop into the pool and clapping gleefully as it sinks slowly to the bottom. But inside my head I can hear my mother’s voice saying to me, “Now what good will that do?” Although my mother passed away nearly 20 years ago, I thank my lucky stars that I can still hear her gentle voice of reason when it is most needed. I anxiously realize that I am in the middle of quite a predicament. I wonder if I should write a letter to my editor to let her know that I desperately need an extension on my submission deadline due to a few careless keys that have seemingly wandered off for an impromptu mid-winters’ break. But without these three letters, I can’t even gather enough words to make any sense! She will think I’ve gone mad. Now what?
One of my favorite inspirational quotes, attributed to Marie Osmond, says, “If you’re going to laugh about something someday, why not laugh about it right now?”
So, instead of being upset, I decide to smile. I re-read the gibberish I’ve written and indeed, it does make me laugh. I place my laptop back on the charger and direct my attention to other things for a little while. Maybe I’ll vacuum the living room rug again. Maybe I’ll go outside for a walk and see how many temperature zones I can find. And maybe, just maybe, this technical glitch will magically fix itself while my programs re-boot. Unlike Ernest Vincent Wright, I may not be excellent without “E’s” (or any other missing letters), but I am an optimist. Sometimes things just don’t work out; but sometimes, they really do. Now go hug your family.