by Starla J. King on August 25, 2011

“A work in progress quickly becomes feral… It is a lion you cage in your study.  As the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength.  You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it.  If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room.  You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, ‘Simba!’ “Annie Dillard, from The Writing Life

I’ve been in the lion’s cage with this blog post all day today.

We started out on such friendly terms, me and this post.  Good kitty.  Lots of purring.  Ideas galore.  My favorite table at Panera, fresh hot coffee and a delightful toasted multi-grain bagel fueling me.  Blog food!  Let’s DO this!  Good kitty. Let me rub your belly.

It all seemed so … possible.

Then I looked at the time.  95 minutes into writing and I had only a caffeine headache and the sparse dry beginnings of 3 different posts.  Meh. Typetypetype ….ERASE ERASE ERASE ERASE.  Chisel, hone, judge, start over.  Type ERASE ERASE.  Coffee. More Coffee. typeTYPETYPE ERASE ERASE ERASE ERASE!!!

I opened the door to the lion’s cage.

Kitty is not purring.  We are no longer friends.

Ok, it must be the distraction of Panera noise.  Let’s go back home.

But apparently I brought the caged lion home with me.  Blog post still not willing to be written.  So I feed the hungry beast a nice lunch and toss in a little extra meat just in case…

Good kitty. <backing out of cage>

Two more uninspiring sentences, and I’m right back in that cage, the blog post baring its teeth at me.

Maybe it wants music.  <Music on>. Nope, apparently not.  <Music off>.

Upstairs office.  Then downstairs office.  Then the other room upstairs.  Then the middle level.  More coffee. Yogurt (red velvet cake flavor.  surprisingly good for a creamed fake version of a delectable baked good).

2 hours, no blog post.

Kitty, my a**!! … this thing has become a mean, hungry, @#$*# lion!  So I went all Annie Dillard on it: grabbed my bravura, shook a chair at the thing, and — shouting Simba! of course — triple-locked the beast into its cage.

And by that I mean I sighed and started working on something else instead.

I’m now writing this post at 7:30 pm., a time when the lion seems to sleep quietly and posts ask to be written instead of Simba!-ed.

And I’m realizing… it wasn’t the blog in that cage… it was my resistance.

And the more I pushed, the more it bristled and growled and roared.

When I stopped the fight and gave it some space, I found the flow.

What’s your thing that you’re holding your chair at and shouting “Simba!” ?

(with all due respect to Annie Dillard) Put down the chair. Sit in it.  Take a loooong deeeeep breath. Ahhhhrelease.

Good kitty.  Let me rub your belly.

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