The Shackled Writer


I have written and rewritten this sentence more than 19 times because it hasn’t ever said what I want it to say in the manner in which I want it to be said.

This displeased, frustrated and annoyed me because I rarely edit the blog in this manner. The blog is not supposed to be for the Shackled Writer.

No, it is supposed to be where I fling open the doors that lead into the dark spaces and make like the crazy spelunker I want to be, searching and sifting through the mud, must and muck of the mind.

But I didn’t do it this time. I didn’t write in the manner of Give Me An Example of A Rant or let loose with reckless abandon because my mind is preoccupied.

Good Writing Is Scary

Good writing is scary and great writing is so fucking frightening the sweat drips off of your forehead and onto the keyboard.

I don’t believe that to be an exaggeration either nor is it a necessity, but sometimes it helps.

If I could sing in the manner I want to you would hear a voice that could make you weep or make your heart sing. That is what I want from my words. I want them to make you smile and think.

And sometimes I want you to read them and feel gutted. Sometimes I want to reach inside your chest and make your heart ache in a way that leaves you breathless and amazed.



I know I have managed to do it a few times. I know some of you have read words I have written and come away with those feelings. I know some of you have wondered how I could have put together a post that made you feel those things in a way that made you ask if we had shared the same experience.

But I also know that some of you have read the same posts and come away with disdain and disgust. You have wondered what the hell is wrong with me and asked how I came up with such garbage.

I know because I read your emails and I see the comments. Can’t be all things to all people.

Some love me, some hate me, some are ambivalent and some don’t waste energy with feelings one way or another.

It makes me think of doors.

You never know what lies on the other side of the door and the only way you can find out is to open it and walk through.

The Shackled Writer

I don’t feel like I have done a good job of walking through those doors lately.  Maybe it is because I have been preoccupied. Maybe it is because when you spend three days driving alone through the desert you have nothing but time to think and that leaves you wanting not to think.

Or maybe it is none of those things.

What I know for certain is I am not happy with my writing. It is not flowing the way I want it to and the stories aren’t being told/shared in the manner I want them to be.

So the plan is to just let go and to write more free form and free association. It is time to just write and to see what happens.

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  1. Suddenly Jamie February 28, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Hey, Jack.
    I may not visit all the time, but like Renee said, I always like it when I’m here. 🙂

    I appreciate your honesty and your “realness.”
    I never feel like you’re trying to manipulate me, I feel like you’re offering the opportunity to connect. There’s a big difference.

    As a writer, I totally “get” the moments of dark doubt. We read someone else’s amazing blog post/essay/article/book/haiku/whatever and think, “Crap. I’ll never be able to do that.”

    No, you won’t.

    But neither can that other person – no matter how brilliant he or she is – do what you do. Only you can bring it the way you bring it. It may not look perfect in your eyes, but it might be exactly what someone else needs to hear.

    That matters.

    Keep on keepin’ on.
    Keep on bein’ you.
    We’ll be here.

    • Jack February 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      Hi Jamie,

      It is nice to see you. I appreciate your coming by. Blogging is one of the best things I ever stumbled into, if for no reason other than it rekindled my love for writing and brought me to where I am at today.

      Blogging has helped me plumb the darker spots as well as the lighter and I am grateful for those things and for the friendships it has helped me to build.

      I hear you about the value of our words, we never do know who we touch and who might need to hear/read these words, do we. There is value in that.

  2. Aaron Brinker February 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm


    I want to agree with everyone else. I think your writing has been excellent. I even linked to your blog recently (as you are well aware) about your writing.

    I have been writing about what defines me for weeks (in a variety of posts). I have been trying to decide if I should consider myself a writer. In earnest, it’s hard for me to want to place myself with others that have journalism or creative writing degrees (I know I sell myself short).

    I do understand the only person we have to make happy is ourselves. We are own worst enemy. We can be harder on ourselves than anyone else (I can’t even look at my old posts). All I would say is make yourself happy first, and the rest will follow.

    Aaron Brinker aka DadBlunders

    • Jack February 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Aaron,

      I have been a writer all my life but I haven’t always defined or described myself as one. The two things that jump out at me in your comment are writing first for yourself and coming up with a personal definition that works for you.

      That is what is important. Those two things are central to personal satisfaction and that is critical for good writing, much more so than a degree or title.

  3. Renee February 25, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I may not read everything you write. I get busy or sidetracked. Or distracted by my own writing attempts.
    But, I’ve never been disappointed when I get here.

  4. Stan Faryna February 25, 2013 at 4:45 am

    I think that I can agree with Julie. [grin] You recent writing seems to be stronger. Perhaps, more focused.

  5. Julie Barrett February 25, 2013 at 4:03 am

    That’s interesting that you feel that way because I’ve observed a huge uptick in the cohesiveness and quality during the past couple of weeks, like you leaped a couple of steps on the writing ladder. Maybe that’s only something observers can see? I suspect that the change will come out when you do unleash, also.

    • Jack February 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks. I think things are moving along, just not as quickly as I would like. I haven’t had as much time to write and to really let loose so I suspect I am restless because of it.

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