By Ariana Hwang
I used to think winter was a blessing for a writer. I thought so because on cold nights, it was easy to make an excuse to stay home and write. They brought forth moments of isolation, and then I’d wait for something to come and pour out of my icy self. This was naiveté and my own myth. Because it never took long for disappointment to settle in when nothing happened.
A seasonal change did nothing for my creativity. It’s especially devastating when you’re trying a number of things to break out of this block—you tell yourself, maybe I’ll watch a movie, maybe I’ll read another book, play guitar or paint until something arrives. This was my hopeful attempt to scrape inspiration from having simple enjoyment. Though I wasn’t having any fun doing anything. I just wanted to get the “itch from hell” Bukowski once spoke about.
Curling myself in misery on my bed, I tried to figure if this was depression or just another bad day. I needed to think it through, make sure it was just the latter, so I thought about the beginning of my week. A couple of days ago, I was binge watching Gwen Stefani music videos, even from her No Doubt days.
Soon it was sweet nostalgia that felt new again. Like I was listening for the first time (I’m not talking about Hollaback Girl. Everyone knew the verse with B-A-N-A-N-A-S). She was just so inspiring to listen to with her songs about former relationships and then staying “Cool” when they ended. And even more amusing to watch. She was this platinum blonde, either dressed in a crop tank or a flashy outfit, accompanied by Harajuku girls on fantastical settings like pirate ships and jails gilded in gold. I wanted to enter her music video as if they were real life. And then there was one that was my reality now.
“What You Waiting For?” It was a song about having writer’s block and in the video Gwen finds herself only when she’s Alice in Wonderland. Obviously, I wasn’t going to get pulled into another imaginary world to get rid of writer’s block, but the video touched upon what I was feeling with the lyrics. I was “born to blossom,” and I’d “bloom to perish.” That’s how the creative process would work, and I needed to accept that. The solution should have been simple in the first place and I didn’t need a flood of original ideas to feel promising. I had to let my frustration subside and say screw it, if this was such a pain, I’d start off simple. Write about having writer’s block. Start from there and then move on.
What I want to end on is this: no one is alone in his or her sadness of trying to create. A blank space is only part of the process. So with love to all writers and creative persons, I dedicate this playlist to all of you. And I leave you to try and find inspiration again.