When I first started my blog, it was me and my keyboard, trying to write something artsy enough to be good, good enough to be artsy, and funny enough to be worth the read, if I could manage it.  I quickly learned that these criteria were far beyond the writing I could muster, and thus I wrote my first real blog post, called I am afraid, about how scared I was to create imperfect, far-from-polished slop for for strangers on the internet to read.  A few months later, I wrote a piece called Brain Soup about how sorry I was that I all I had to write about that day were wisps of free association that couldn’t be tied together in any meaningful way, and then wrote it anyways.  The puzzle piece that tied it all together was my constant acknowledgement of how awful it was.  Half a year later, I wrote “On Sailboats and blogging”, which was a more serious piece about my lingering fears of posting shitty writing, and how small my blog was (and still is) in comparison to so many others.

bad writing

You don’t have to be a Freudian to notice a little pattern here.  As a matter of fact, this is one small pattern in the infinite sea of my blog posts.  When I think about what I tend to write about, I feel a lot like I’m standing in the fabric section of the craft store getting stared down by eighty different kinds of polka dots patterns.  There’s small, pinpoint polka dots, fat polka dots, glittery polka dots, oblong polka dots, pink and purple polka dots, rainbow polka dots, black and white polka dots, pastel polka dots, and just when you think you’ve seen it all, you close your eyes to go to sleep at night and bam.  More fucking polka dots.

I write about the vulnerability of writing, I write about every facet of feminism I can scrape with my dirty fingernails, I write about college, I write about hating clichés, I write bad advice, I write about politics, and then I start all over again from the top.  I jot down new blog post ideas at three AM just to throw them away when I wake up because I can think of at least four other posts I’ve written about basically the same thing.

When I tried to force myself to write something, anything, one evening, I wrote the following three sentences, and then promptly gave up:

I want to write something good.  I want to write something good.  I want to write something good.

It is suffice to say that, despite my evident desire, I did not, in fact, write anything remotely good that day.  The problem with writing is that you have to have something to write about.  And it’s one thing to come up with an idea or two, but it’s another to come up with hundreds.  I’ve started to repeat myself, but I dress up the same old ideas in glitzy new words and hope nobody notices that the principle underneath them never changed.  It’s sort of like my brain never really formed in my skull in the first place, and all I got were a few used-up, rusted out ideas and a squeaky hamster wheel, churning out the same old sluggish thoughts day in and day out.  Lately, I haven’t written much at all, and I wanted to change that, and find something new to write about.  I decided to go forth into the world and find something I’d never written about before.

And, once again, the depths of my naiveté astonished me.  Of course, I don’t know what I don’t know.  Maybe there’s some morsel of originality that everybody in the history of the universe has ignored, and it’s just waiting to be noticed.  And of course, the world is so saturated in stories that I couldn’t possibly know a fraction of them.

Hell, I’m stupid.  I’m twenty goddamn years old.  A decade ago, I was in the fifth grade.  So why is it that I can’t find a shred of newness, at least to myself, to blabber on about for a page and a half?

To answer my own rhetorical question, I have resorted to self-diagnosis, which is a natural occurrence when you major in psychology and spend all day learning about psychological disorders; you start projecting them onto yourself.  And I am guilty as hell.  I have, I believe, a disorder known as Hamster Wheel Head.  It is a distressing condition that is characterized by thinking the same old thoughts, over and over again.  Sufferers tend to spend all their time and energy dreaming up new ways to perceive old ideas, only to find out that someone else already thought of them or that they too closely resemble the old view anyway.  They often feel stuck as their brain cycles through the same old thoughts as they pace in circles around their apartments and watch history repeat itself on the same old ball of earth that revolves around the same sun and watch the seasons change outside their window: summer to fall to winter to spring, and then back to summer again, to fall to winter to spring, and regardless of whether it’s snow or rain pelting their window, they see the same old water droplets descending from the same old sky.  Reading an article about how the dinosaurs might have gone extinct by adapting too well to their environment and overpopulating the earth, a sufferer might realize that the hole their species has ripped in the sky isn’t even new, and when they shake their head, they picture an infinite number of themselves shaking an infinite number of heads in an infinite number of parallel universes.

hamster-wheel-2730807_1280

Was it Dany Laferrière that said there is nothing new under the sun?  And who was it that said it before him?

But I digress.  My diagnosis has devastated me, and it is all consuming.  It’s chronic, I believe.  I am doomed to spend the rest of my life in my hamster wheel head.  I imagine that a new body of empirical evidence will eventually appear in the literature to support my claim; but it’s hard to say that with any certainty, mostly because I made up the disorder five minutes ago.  Still, I promise to keep trying my best on this online platform as I cope with my newfound malady, and if things get a little too cyclical; I’m sorry.

I want to write something good.  I want to write something good.  I want to write something good.

2 thoughts on “Hamster Wheel Head

  1. Hey Anna. It’s very admirable to be so concerned over writing something good, especially when you’re posting online. Writing takes so much practice. I started journaling so that I could have a space, unseen by anyone but me, for practice, and that freed me up so much to worry less about only producing good writing. I have had to learn to be okay with writing a lot of shit before I write anything good. I’ve had to learn that what is more important than “good” writing is consistency. It sounds like, outside of this blog, you are writing often, so keep it up! I enjoy the style of your writing and hope that you share more soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Trish,
      Thank you!! I agree with you totally about the shitty writing. It seems to be a lesson I have to learn over and over again. This semester, I’m working on a writing project with a professor, and I’m learning a lot about the importance of stamina over perfectionism (again). I think having a journal is a great way to write freely without fear of judgement, and I commend you for doing that. Cheers to shitty, consistent writing!

      Liked by 1 person

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