Any writer knows that sometimes it’s really intimidating to put words on paper or a computer screen. Sometimes it’s even more disappointing when, as a writer, you think your work doesn’t measure up to the great literary minds who packed page after page with their groundbreaking insights. Whether writing newspaper articles or writing books, sometimes I feel there are better ways – more poetic ways to describe a scenario I want readers to stir up in their minds.
It’s common knowledge that in order to improve your writing, you have to read a lot. Of course, to that extent, I’ve been reading a lot (LOL) of Edgar Allan Poe in the last few days. I’ve read some of his works in high school, including “The Raven,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” The Fall of the House of Usher,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Since this past Tuesday, I’ve been reading his items online and borrowed a Bantam Books collection of his works from a local library. This Bantam collection features Poe’s only novel, “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.”
When it comes to romanticizing death, he’s the go-to guy. The complexity and the beauty which Poe, as each story’s narrator, describes his own paranoia, phobias, and the intricacy of his senses as he experiences pending doom and death are … unique.
Reading the works of this great man and, this morning, Dorothy Parker, I felt a sense of intimidation creeping upon me when I tried typing something meaningful, words that wouldn’t fall flat upon typing on my computer screen. As a writer, sometimes you want to take with you the inspirational ways the English language has been pieced together, like taking various colors from a palette to create a wintry mountain landscape. Other times, you let the writer’s block marinate within you because you feel that being a productive writer would be a waste of time; you fear that the end product would be somewhat disappointing.
Then each writer – including me – has to realize that everyone is different. Everyone has his or her own perspectives, foibles, strengths, quirks – each person can bring to their own creative works their unique viewpoints. Poe was good at being Poe because he was Poe. Parker was good at being Parker because she was Parker. Therefore, I should be good at being Teresa Edmond because I am Teresa Edmond – not Poe, or Parker, or any other writer out there. That understanding should help to thaw out my writer’s block.