When You Can’t Write. And Why.

That’s a loaded title. Where are the words? When will they show up? How long will it take?

These thoughts are loaded with questions, baggage, and ghosts for all of us who have this strange urge to document our lives with letters and words and sentences. We do it to make sense of what has happened to us, what will happen to us, what we hope happens to us. We use it to figure out motivations, loved ones, puzzles, scary things, and mysteries.  We use these words to figure out how we truly feel underneath all the layers, the fake smiles, the daily grind.

It’s not always lofty business. We also use it to have fun, and escape, and create things that weren’t there before.

Writing brings all the blurry edges and unfocused lenses into startling clarity. All the fine lines we once couldn’t see, the vividness of colors that once seemed dull, they all come into focus. Every now and then it stings to look at the microscope-lens-worthy truth so closely.

So with all that to consider, is it any wonder why sometimes we just… can’t? To write things is to feel them sharply, painfully, joyfully, tearfully, ecstatically. It’s exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. To write things is to no longer be able to ignore issues and feelings that we’ve successfully shoved to the back of the closets in our minds. Issues get drug center stage, right underneath a white hot spotlight.

This has been a year of truth-telling and truth-finding and huge emotional highs and lows. I find myself tearfully grateful, intensely happy, and overwhelmingly optimistic about the future. It’s been a long time since hope bubbled up in my throat and came out in a million smiles. But it does now. Being in love will do that to a woman. Being in love with a good man who keeps his promises and loves my daughter like his own? My smiles border on megawatt most days.

But when I sit down at my computer, the words don’t always flow. I think the record needle in my head is worn out at the moment. The last several years have taken so much energy to survive and think and cry, there wasn’t always a lot left for the writing machinery in my head. The needle grew dull and not completely suited to play the music that makes the words or finds the sentences that turn into the right paragraphs. But I keep returning. I keep putting my fingers over the keys, hovering, waiting for the words to come back. Now, there’s hope.

Because if I’ve learned anything in this life, and if there’s one thing that comforts me with the intensity of a cheerfully lit window in the dark of night, it’s that the words always come back. They spring back up and start pouring out in a rush. Just like life, and love. It always comes back. And it’s my job, your job, to be sitting at the desk when they do.

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20 Comments

  1. Angie A says:

    So beautifully said, and so true. I’m finally old enough to realize that I need to do a few certain things to make sure I don’t lose the words completely, but I trust in the process enough to have faith that they’ll come back.

    Like

  2. Rebecca says:

    I keep hoping too. Its been a year or more since I’ve been able to write. I keep telling the stories…in my head…but can’t seem to make the words appear…only phrases or a word here or there. It frightens me. This post however, gives me hope, and let’s me feel that for now, its ok. Or, it will be ok.

    Like

  3. rue says:

    I’ve been there, Liz. I know all to well what it’s like not to have the words. I shut down my last blog because of it. You handled your situation with grace and I wish I could have done the same. Oh well, no looking back now. The future is bright and happy, which we all deserve, especially you 🙂

    xoxo,
    rue

    Like

  4. marielle says:

    I am so happy for you and your man is so handsome!!! What a beautiful couple you make. Wishing you only the best because you deserve it and I so much enjoy reading you.

    Like

  5. Sam says:

    Maybe your words don’t flow because you are out of touch with reality! I know you don’t think you blog will affect your daughter,but it will.you need to take a step back and realize all the press you give your fiancé is too much! Someday your daughter will read your blog and see that you thought your new guy “loves my daughter like his own” was ridiculous . She has parents to do that and doesn’t need a stranger to add to her misery.

    Like

    • lizharrell3 says:

      Hello Sam. Although, that’s not actually your name, is it? Your name is Thomas Craig Robinson. You’re facebook friends with Deb, my former mother-in-law’s best friend. You have never met me. You do not know me. I suggest you find something better to do with your time other than harassing a young woman you don’t know. Given your age and the fact you’re a man, it’s really quite creepy. The fact that you’re lurking out there, looking at our pictures, making conjectures under the fake name “Sam” about myself and my four year old daughter is disturbing. Let that sink in for a moment.

      You. Are. Creepy.

      In the future it would serve you well to remember that internet trolling is never quite as anonymous as you may think. It was really very easy to find your facebook page, residence, church, job history, rotary club, wife’s obituary, and even comments you’ve left on other blogs.

      My family and friends have managed to take the high road and abstain from gossip, character assassination, and internet bullying with regards to my ex-husband. I cannot say the same for your side of the fence. It would really be mature if you could follow my family and friends’ examples. And if it isn’t within your natural capabilities to be mature and well, not a creepy old man, perhaps you can go away and abstain from harassing me (and my daughter and soon-to-be husband) simply because we will not hesitate to publicly publish every single bit of your personal information so the world can see just how creepy you really are.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Deletta Browning says:

        Hello Craig. My name is Deletta Browning and I live in Little Rock, AR. That is my real name and this is my real email address.

        It saddens me to know that an adult would take time out of his life to troll the blog of a fellow human who he does not know in order to post such hateful, venomous garbage. You have no idea how kind, generous and loving Elizabeth is or how much she seeks to raise her daughter be just as kind and loving. Elizabeth and Jane both have sweet spirits and your comments are an offense to those of us who truly love them.

        To your comment that Jane does not need a stranger to “add to her misery” I would ask you to expound on the misery to which you think Jane is subjected. Have you meet Jane? Have you conversed with her? Have you played dolls with her? Have you had her help you walk your dog? Have you babysat her fish? Do you even know she has a fish or what his name is?

        You see dear Craig, I can answer “Yes” to all of those questions. I have know Jane since she was conceived. For eight months, I lived in the same building as Jane and Elizabeth. The fish’s name is Flotsom, by the way, and he’s a beautiful Beta with a amazing personality.

        Jane is an intelligent, inquisitive, out spoken, opinionated, sweet, funny, little person. Rest assured, if Jane felt her existence was one of Dickensinioan misery and deprivation, the entire world would hear of her woes. I have no doubt, she would contact CNN herself. She is quite capable.

        As for defending the fiancé, I will leave that to him. Fayez needs no one to defend his honor or explain how much he loves Jane. Quite frankly, you who do not know them, do not deserve such an explain action. I will say that your implication that no one can parent as well as a biological parent is so ludicrous as to be laughable. If it were not so pitiful.

        Dear Craig, since you have so much free time on your hands, I would like to suggest you conduct internet research on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Please pay attention to the information on Flying Monkeys. I am certain it will shed much light on why you chose to voice your opinions on the people you don’t even know and do so in such a public forum.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow, that is actually quite impressive. How did you get all that information about him? Did someone tip you off?

        Like

    • Hello, Sam. Super swell to meet you. In case you’re wondering who I am, my name is Kristi Greene and I live in Oklahoma City, OK. And that’s my real name and this is my real email address and I’m using my real IP address to post this comment on my friend Liz’s blog.

      I cannot imagine a scenario where having an additional loving adult would harm a child. I cannot imagine what on earth would make you take the time to get a dummy email address and post a harassing comment on a stranger’s blog. I can tell you this though: she decided to approve your comment, so I decided to reply. Here’s my final reply: do try not to be a jerk. Someday someone will read your comment and think “my, that lady or gentleman took the time to harass someone h/she didn’t even know out of nothing but pure spite. What a lame life that lady must have.” And before you respond with “Well, look what you’re doing to me! It’s the same thing!” Let me just tell you that it’s not the same thing. See, I used my real name, my real email address, and I didn’t attempt to hide my words. I know they’re out there for everyone to see. Do try to learn that in the future.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Jim says:

      I’d suggest “Sam” be more studious and learn an important lesson about lips and assholes. One of these things is not like the others… Take care not to let shit spew forth from both; otherwise, you’ll redefine the meaning of the term “asshole.”

      Like

  6. Ms. Hazard says:

    Oh, Craig. Find better hobbies.

    Liz, I continue to admire your strength and perseverance and if there’s anything this blog will say to Jane when she’s older, it’s that her mother is fearless, incredible and would do anything in the world to make sure Jane has the best life possible, surrounded by safe and healthy people who love her. I hope you’ll occasionally come back to Arkansas – or maybe I should find my way North. Either way, you are loved and I admire you. <4

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Susan S says:

    Dear Craig/Sam,
    I have never met Liz or her daughter… I’m just a blog reader that finds Liz’s observations interesting, kind, courageous, inspired, and fun. Please find another blog to comment on… this one is clearly not for you and is not the forum for your insensitivity. It’s tacky and rude to those of us that read Liz’s blog looking for a bit of inspiration in our day, and I really don’t want us to share our space and time with you. As a child of divorce myself, I find your comments extremely hurtful and cruel. Understand that you are causing damage and reflecting poorly on those you associate with… Are you so sure they would want you to behave so badly? You may want to consider issuing Liz and her loved one’s an apology. We all make mistakes, but a bigger mistake would be to fail to deliver an apology when you have wronged someone. Please consider saying that you are sorry.
    Sincerely, Susan from Jacksonville, FL (reading Liz’s blogs for the past 5 years)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kathy says:

    I resent that nasty comment that person left! As a mother that remarried a wonderful guy after going through a terrible divorce I know for a fact my 2nd husband provided a loving, supportive home for my little girl. That was not ever going to happen with her biological father. Anyway, why would this person even feel they had the right to interject an opinion into your life?! What rude nerve.

    Like

  9. Paige says:

    I love my step-dad as much as I love my father. God bless the men and women who come into children’s lives and love them as their own! Jane is one lucky little lady to be surrounded by so many adults who want to love her and take care of her.

    Like

  10. Angela says:

    Thomas Craig Robinson – how DARE you. To make presumptions about someone you don’t know based on third hand gossip and then spew venom at them – hiding behind a pseudonym no less – is the work of a true coward. Elizabeth is a tremendous young woman who has faced numerable challenges with dignity and grace. She has never once hidden behind a false name or tried to shame or blame her former husband. Unlike you she is not a lying coward. Elizabeth is fortunate indeed to have been able to remove herself from the likes of people who would call you “friend.” My name – my real name – is Angela Parker and I’m in Little Rock. Go crawl back under the rock where you hide – your slimy side is showing.

    Like

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