How do you deal with writer’s block?
Depends on how you define “block.” Writing is like an addictive drug in neural pathway terms because writing releases endorphins. And you know how that goes. Give brain some feeling good; brain want more. And each time writing releases endorphins the neural pathway becomes more fixed. That’s how I became a writing junkie. On my most frustrating, teeth-grinding, I just tore up five pages I wrote yesterday days, writing makes me feel good. So I always want to write. Always. But sometimes in the midst of writing I can get stuck. (Is that what you mean by writer’s block? Stuck?) Like I just finished a chapter. What comes next? Dunno. Look at your outline. It’s not there. Or, I know what comes next but don’t know where to begin. Is she already in the room staring at her husband’s eviscerated corpse? Or is she still outside rehearsing how she’ll tell her husband she wants a divorce? Or…? On these occasions I take a walk. I love walking. No wonder. Walking, it turns out, produces endorphins! And, researchers say, endorphins enhance creativity. Ah, the vicious cycle of addiction. Gotta love it.
Who is your favorite fictional couple, and why?
I think Penelope and Odysseus are my all time favorite fictional couple. Odysseus encounters many dangerous situations on his return from the battle of Troy and uses his wit and cunning to survive them. Penelope stays at home in Ithaca, which has become a dangerous place in its own right. She has to fend off the one hundred and eight strong young men who have moved into her house demanding she pick one of them to marry. (After ten years, they believe Odysseus must be dead). With wit and cunning equal to her husband’s , she holds them off by telling them they must wait until she finishes weaving a shroud for her father-in-law, Laertes. She works on the shroud every day, and every night she unravels it. When Odysseus finally returns to Ithaca and takes care of the suitors, Penelope makes him pass a test before she welcomes him as her husband. She asks him to move their bed. He says it’s impossible because he built the bed himself and one of the bedposts is a tree rooted in the ground beneath them. I love that in this oldest extant work of Western literature (along with the Ilead dating from 800 BCE) the woman is as mentally strong and clever as her husband. Now that’s a couple!