Road Trips, Writer’s Block, and the Uncommon Cold ► Unpacking The Writer
So many things I can waste my time on when I should be writing

If you’ve only been following along at the Not Now Silly Newsroom, there’s not been a lot to follow since I began the 3rd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research. Apologies.

While I had great plans for updates all along the trip, I only managed to keep my Facebookery and Twitter feeds up to date, sorta, more or less, mostly less. The Not Now Silly Newsroom took a back seat because, frankly, it was just too easy to pull out a phone, splash a few pics into the mix, and fool myself into thinking I’ve kept my readers in the loop. I know better because there are some readers who only get their Not Now Silly news from the World’s #1 Not Now Silly news source.

Moreover, my cute little [paid for] phone app failed, so I couldn’t update the Not Now Silly Newsroom in real time. It sounds like I am making excuses — and I guess I am — but it seemed that setting up the laptop was an ordeal. Three separate times I set up at the Starbucks at 10 Mile and Greenfield (Oak Park, Michigan), when my phone would ring and I’d have to pack it all up to meet someone from my research files.

[This particular Starbucks is known to the coffeenoscenti as Mel Farrbucks because it’s on the site of his former car dealership. In just the last month Mel Farr died. ►►► R.I.P. ◄◄◄] 

In terms of material for The Not Now Silly Newsroom, this trip provided more stories [yet to be written], on a variety of topics, than any previous Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research. Coming soon: stories on the Viola Liuzzo Playground; Michigan’s crazy MMJ Laws, Dab Wars, and the Marijuana Movement; The Shrine of the Little Flower and the anti-Semitic Demagogue who built it; a Don Knotts-Morgantown Update; and another action-packed Pastoral Letter to my childhood friend, Pastor Kenny Wilson, with whom I managed to squeeze in an all-too-short reunion after more than 45 years apart.

Bouncing around in the very back of my brain is a possible article of things I witnessed in cheap motels. Due to ‘Merkin ‘Ceptionalism, there are families living full-time in motels across this country. Seeing children so used to motel life that they talk to arriving strangers was a shock, with more shocks to come. This article will require more research and, quite possibly, more road trips.

However, I also have to admit to several disappointments on this trip: Because of various problems [see below] I was forced to skip several stops on my itinerary: The Harriet Tubman Museum in Macon, Georgia; the Gilchrist Block Club, because no one answered; all my Jim Bloor side-trips; The Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, South Carolina; an overnight in St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest continually inhabited city in the United States; and a quick trip over to Oveido, Florida, to meet a guy I’ve known online for decades, but have never met. All jettisoned in the end.

However, to be perfectly honest, my biggest regret on this trip is that Mark Koldys refused to take up my very public request to help write the Last Chapter of The Johnny Dollar Wars. Not only had I hoped to finally meet the hypocritical and cowardly MoFo, but I wanted to gain some closure and insight into why a former Wayne County Prosecutor would head a coterie of cyber-bullies who attacked me almost daily for more than 3 years. I guess I’ll have to write the last chapter alone.

Another visit to Coffee Jr. High School. What a difference a year makes!

Where was I? Oh, that’s right. I was excuse-making.

I no sooner left Canton for my return trip than I got sick. After the first night I merely felt stuffed up and told my hosts that it felt as if I was having a pollen reaction, even though I’ve never had one of those before. It didn’t feel like I had a cold.

At my next stop, Morgantown, West Virginia, I needed a nasal mist because I could barely catch air, but it still didn’t feel like a cold. I went to sleep in a cheap motel and woke up with one of the worst colds I have ever had in my life. I rolled around in bed for a few hours feeling miserable before I realized I still had 15.5 hours of driving ahead of me.

I barely remember the rest of the trip home. With each mile, the cold got worse. Then, because I wasn’t challenged enough, the A/C in the car started to work intermittently. It would go from frozen to having to open the windows if I didn’t want to suffocate from the heat. There was no Mr. Inbetween. Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. It was a recipe for catastrophic illness.

When I finally got home I crawled into bed and stayed there for an entire week. Between swigging Nytol like it was the cure for life, and changing my t-shirt every few hours because I’d sweat right through them, I know I put a few dinners on the table for Pops. It was difficult doing that and still staying as far away from him as possible because I didn’t want to dose him with whatever I had.

Funny tangent with a not-so-funny ending: A few months back I finally demanded that Ian Christie, of Webitez, set a date on which the site would finally be finished after agreeing to build it a year ago. I took that as a FINAL DROP DEAD date and actually put it into my calendar as a daily, repeating appointment that said GO NUTS ON IAN. It went off just as I started the 3rd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research. Every single day on the 3rd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research I was reminded that Ian allowed another deadline to pass. By the time I got home, I was already primed to kick his ass. Then he gave me the perfect excuse.

You can read the result of that saga in Webbitez Bitez ► A Consumer Report. However, here’s the takeaway: to write that I post I pulled myself out of a sickbed. At the time it seemed like a Herculean effort to slam words together and to finally write everything about Ian Christie I had been holding back for months.

The Shrine of the Little Flower

Then I collapsed back into my bed for the remainder of the week.

Here’s the other, even sadder, takeaway: Foolishly, especially after Ian had disappointed me so many times in the past year, I still put all my Not Now Silly Newsroom eggs in the Webbitez’s Bullshit Basket. When that fell apart, it felt as if all the wind had been taken out of my sails. I’d stare at the computer, but I couldn’t seem to write a word.

I’d sort and resort the pictures I took on the 3rd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research, but I couldn’t seem to attach any words to them. I’d stare at black pages in my notebooks hoping to get inspired, without any luck. I’d pull up the blogger software only to be reminded that I wanted to be on Word Press template under my own domain name by now. So, then I’d go look at Word Press templates for hours until I could no longer remember which ones I liked and which I hated.

Then, I’d do it all over again.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had real Writer’s Block like this. This came from a deep, dark hole. Usually it’s really just a matter of procrastination, not staring into a blank abyss, hitting the brick wall of depression. I felt incapable of putting down any words whatsoever. That realization didn’t help the downward spiral.

My entire adult life has been spent writing because I am a writer. Now I didn’t even want to write. It was a crisis of confidence. Sure, I need to write, but do people even care what I write about?

Then it came time to produce my weekly Friday Fox Follies for PoliticusUSA. Fibs, Frankenstein, and Fabulosity was a lot of fun to write, but — more importantly  it acted as a brain-cleaner, clearing out all the cobwebs that built up since I left on the 3rd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research.

One good thing is that during this time I realized that the Not Now Silly Newsroom had grown stale. I’ve been jotting down a few ideas to refresh the site. As well, I’m still looking at Word Press templates. Since I’ll probably have to purchase it, I’m being very careful with this choice. I’ve had to live with my Blogger choice a lot longer than I wanted. I’m also trying to see whether I can figure out, on my own, how to transfer all the posts here to a new site. Apparently it IS doable.

Not that writing has been easy, mind you. This post was begun Friday afternoon (right after my Friday Fox Follies) and, as I complete the final edit, and drop some ‘art’ onto the page, it’s now early Tuesday. If I keep editing this sucker it’ll never get posted. And, I’ll squeeze all the life out of it. It’s time to let it go.

However, I’m on the road to recovery. What would you like to read about next?

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.

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