In a three-decade career as a professional writer, I often read about and heard about writer’s block, but never experienced it until last week! A reader commented casually that Eli’s Observations were “late.”
I was a little startled. I’d been admonished early on by a mentor that successful bloggers were like sharks: if they stop swimming, they die. I’d been vaguely aware that I was treading water last week, the prospect of skibillions more “Republican Presidential Debates” creeping towards me like a slowly shifting sea of sludge had left me strangely uninspired. Was it them — or me? I think “the block” began when “Boots” Perry rolled out his first ad campaign for Iowa. Instead of a drumbeat of doom, deficits and taxes, here was Perry focusing on gay marriage and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It was as if Rick Van Perry had gone to sleep in the late 1980s and just awakened, ready for an old fashioned “values” campaign.
This Republican deep sleep theory made sense to me. Remember the musical “Brigadoon?” In it, a lovely little Scottish village awakened every hundred years for a day of love and sunshine and then went back to sleep. If you just substituted every four years for the hundred years and “snow and contentiousness” for love and sunshine, you had the Iowa caucuses or as some call it, Brigadunces.
You could understand Perry’s confusion. People in this year’s GOP caucus still look the same: resolutely rural and very very white. Rick must have been reassured to see a familiar figure: Newton Leroy Gingrich with his wife Marianne — wait a minute — this lady’s name was Callista, much younger and blonder than the 1980s version. But Newt hadn’t changed a bit. Okay — maybe a bit. Twenty-two years older and twenty two-pounds heavier.
Old Newt was still posturing, still dishing out the zingers, eyeing everyone with contempt. That’s when I snapped out of the Scottish fog and identified my block. I’d been dreading writing about Nasty Newt. But Eli is back at his desk. Our motto is “the blog doesn’t stop here.” I’m working on my next posting. Tentative title: “The Gingrinch Who Stole the White House.”