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Elf's Diary Entry #21 - Writers Block and Take Two

I am faced with my first encounter of 2015 with Writers Block. That old chum. Every time I try to write my brain fogs up, my arms get heavy, my back starts to ache in the chair and suddenly I remember I have a lot of washing that I need to do NOW.

Thus, I become distracted once again. Then, I sit down and look at the laptop.


I suddenly realise in that moment I need MORE coffee, because if I drink MORE coffee, I will surely be able to get more writing done? Right?

I make the coffee, I sit back down.


The phone rings. It's my mother, she fancies a catch-up. We chat. The conversation finishes. I look back at the screen once more.


Then I get a text, it's a friend in urgent help. I MUST REPLY.


Then my father rings. He wants to chat to me about my 'career'. One hour passes.


I look at the screen. Then I remember that I've forgotten to write to my pen pal. The postcards come out...


I look at the glowing blank page. I realise I should probably check my emails....


I look at my empty word document and my eyes rise to the top right hand corner. It's time to head out to a gig.

"Oh dear. I'll write tomorrow...." I say to myself, walking out of my flat with my ruckstack on and a growing list of 'to-does' in my head.

Part of the block comes from the fact that I have been performing so much in the evenings. When it comes to writing during the day my body and mind seem to lack energy. All I want is to sleep. My flat is so quiet I rely on Lauren Lavern and Radcliffe and Maconie on BBC Radio 6 for company. I sit at my desk like a less successful Virgina Woolf, contemplating and worrying about how many more hours of work I need to do to cover my music licensing costs, and whether or not anyone will donate to my crowdfunder page....

So many worries buzz in your brain, laying eggs in your head (unknowingly to you) when you're socialising with others, only to then hatch and fester when you are on your own, consuming you with distracting thoughts which stop you from creating.

I doesn't help I haven't really slept this week.

On Wednesday morning I was awake at 4am and in a van at 5am to enjoy the 3 hour car ride to Portishead to film the final scenes of 'Take Two', the feature length film by Ash and Negar. The film itself is a haunting black & white philosophical exploration of 'death' and our relationship to it. I play a weird enigma character called Justine, who dresses like a character from a modern re-imagining of The Seventh Seal, if The Seventh Seal was styled by Victoria Beckham. I must admit, despite my inability to remember my lines, I do enjoy all the 'standing still and looking melancholic into the distance' which I have to do. I am very good at looking melancholic. One of the positives of being inately stubborn.

The crew and I didn't really get to enjoy Portishead, but what I viewed briefly was quite beautiful. The murky water lapsing onto pebbled beaches and royal blue shadows of nearby towns when you looked across the water. Nothing seemed to be going on there except the occassional dog walker and jogger walking along the outline of the shore. The crew were continuously sniffed and quiestioned by inquisitive Alsations and puppies which would bound up to us mid-shot. There was something midlly sinister about Portishead. It was too quiet, and with all the new housing developments which stood out too modern against the natural beauty of the shore it felt like something from a modern version of The Wicker Man and the Truman Show. It's the type of place you'd go to live if you were escaping from either a murder enquiry or a very messy divorce. I'll keep it in mind for the future.

Four hours of standing in the cold on a hill by tomb like pieces of stone architecture, we eventually headed back to London. Five hours later and I was once more standing melancholic, but this time at Craven Cottage to watch Fulham vs Nottingham Forest. Good luck struck and we won 3-2. I was just as surprised as you are.

Yesterday was another busy day, tonight is another busy night, and the weekend brings more gigs and scenarios that demand being physically and mentally creative.

One can't complain. I am very lucky.

I should probably go. I need to put my washing on and I need to ring my mother....

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