Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

Why I Haven’t Killed Myself Yet

After coming out of the closet with my metaphor masturbation, the rainbow city of San Francisco finally saluted me as one of its own.  The sun was warmer, the people friendlier.  I stopped driving and started walking, no longer in a mad rush of self-absorption.  I took the time to grin widely at sidewalk pedestrians, finally unafraid of my (emotional, mistake ridden, overly impulsive) self. My laments at things gone wrong faded and I stopped the internal berating.

A paintbrush had dripped electric blue over my previously gray world.  As I slowed down to notice the colorful universe around me, my writer’s senses went on high alert.  I felt each gust of air brush up against my skin, giving me goose bumps for the possible story it may contain.  I overheard random conversations, each interchange grounds for a novel.  As a writer, I had been granted magical powers.  In addition to pretending paychecks were unnecessary; I was also able to create fantasies about other people.  I leaped into strangers’ minds, making up fictional histories to add depth to their two-second existence in my life.  The mail clerk became an aspiring tattoo artist with an Italian lover.  The police offer turned into a high school football champ and father of an ill daughter.

As I viewed others differently, I felt I was also seen in a new light.  After all, a writer is a much more interesting individual than a strategy consultant.  In my fantastical mind baristas gave me secret nods, knowing that I wasn’t just a regular customer. I was a prose junkie who could conjure up a sordid tale about their cappuccino foam.

And then it happened.  After all my stories and musings, I entered the dreaded land of Writer’s Block.  Although thoughts swirled about me to off key carnival music, nothing would come out on paper.  I had composition constipation.

Panic set in. I couldn’t get a word down let alone a chapter. Without writing I was nothing—I would once again be stuck in my own mind, reliving my mistakes, lamenting the past, wanting to die a sudden death so as to stop the madness.

What was the diuretic for the novelist?  I scoured my medicine cabinet but came up empty handed.  I tried home remedies such as eating chocolate and reading Neruda, but alas, nothing worked.  Desperate for a release, I consulted the Paris Review for writer’s block tips.  They had a four-step plan.

1.     Drink heavily

2.     Drink heavily and mix narcotics

3.     Plagiarize

4.     Commit Suicide

My response to the plan:

1.     Drinking does bring about good stories….but the last time I drank heavily, I had aftermath regret for weeks.

2.     I wasn’t a prolific enough writer to start abusing narcotics.  Perhaps after my book is published.

3.     If I could find anyone I wanted to plagiarize I would. But I haven’t yet.

4.     The bullet got stuck in the chamber.

Thank you Paris Review, but now I am left to my own devices.  And then it hit me. Perhaps I should stop writing about myself for awhile.  (B-o-r-i-n-g I can hear my readers say).  Perhaps I should go back to where I started and interview other women.  My fellow females had inspired me once, and they would do so again.

Thus on Wednesday night I left my antique desk and comfortable clothes to trot off to a women’s networking event.  The ‘meet and greet’ session was perfect ground for connecting, sharing, and getting damn good material.  As I had said earlier, this path isn’t just my road, it is all of ours. By building a community, we can save each other from self-abuse and suicide attempts. We can share our fears and our dreams, supporting each other in the next step.  Support, yes…..for I’d quite hate to kill myself before publication…..

2 Discussions on
“Why I Haven’t Killed Myself Yet”
  • Love the title of this post – definitely got me to click through… but left me wanting more… save this title for a juicy book about all your mistakes/lessons learned.

  • Good comment jb…I made a few edits to allude to the mistakes…but summing them all up is a full book. Perhaps two. And the title yes. For a writer the title is one of the best marketing tools that they have! ; )

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