A Peaceful, Easy Feeling (Brian Katcher)


We've all been there. Staring at the relentless empty page in our typewriter, illuminated every few seconds by the flashing neon glow of the flophouse's neon lights. The stench of vomit and gin. The distant sound of police sirens and the much closer sounds of angry voices and occasional gunfire. The bugs under your skin. Your last five dollars that you promised yourself you'd use to buy a meal, but you know you're just going to drink away. And that ever pounding question:

"How can I map out a believable, lighthearted romantic arc for my two lead characters in a way that's both spontaneous and believable?" 

It's about then that I pass out on the linoleum. But how does one recharge the ol' batteries? How do you get the creative juices flowing again in a way that doesn't neglect your creative outlets, while avoiding the ever present mental image of making a noose out of your typewriter ribbon and jumping off your desk...

Well, anyway, here are some suggestions:

*Enjoy a nice drink or two. A glass of wine or a snifter of brandy. Many creative times would use the old pick me up for inspiration: Poe, Jim Morrison, Hank Williams, Sr, Chris Farley, etc, etc. Treat yourself.

*Look up old girl/boyfriends on social media sites. They're be glad to hear from you and maybe explain why they f*ing ghosted you after that night you brought them home at four in the morning and took a drunken swing at their father.

*Go for a walk. Solitude is the school of genius, they say, and a stroll around the neighborhood can clear ones mind. Especially if it's the middle of the night and you haven't slept for days. Nocturnal walks can show you many beautiful things: the stars (when was the last time you enjoyed the night sky?), the hoot of an owl, the occasional deer, young lovers locked in passionate embrace behind barely closed curtains, etc.

*Exercise. While taking care of ourselves mentally, we mustn't neglect ourselves physically. Try yoga or spin. Or strip naked, crank your stereo up as high as it will go and punch the heavy bag (or the wall!) until your knuckles are raw and bloody.

*Have a beer or two at the local tavern. There are probably several in town, just in case you're 'not welcome back' because you 'annoy and frighten the patrons.' I wasn't aware this was god d*mn Fifth Avenue. And where on the sign does it say pants are required?

*Chat with your loved ones. Call up your parents and remind your father how he said you were a worthless nothing and would never amount to anything. Well guess who got a starred review in Publishers Weekly, Daddy? Ashamed of me now? Huh, old man?

*Tackle some household chore you've been avoiding. Paint that bathroom, hang those pictures, scrub that floor. Just scrub it and scrub it and scrub it but the filth NEVER GOES AWAY, DOES IT BRIAN? IT'S JUST DIRTY! JUST LIKE MOTHER SAID! YOU'RE A DIRTY, DIRTY BOY! 

*And if all that fails, you could try editing one of your manuscripts. Personally, I find that dreary and distasteful, but to each his own, I suppose.

And above all, have fun! Writing should be a joy.


  1. Channeling Mickey Spillane it would seem. I'd add howling at the moon outside a packed church service.


Post a Comment