When it comes to music, there is no such thing as a bad time for funk. As Stanley Clarke so eloquently tells us, “Funk is Its Own Reward.” (See his album entitled “East River Drive,” if you don’t believe me.)
I’m always threatening to make myself a playlist called “Funk,” containing all the songs that give me that lowdown funky groove, including the two funkiest songs by white guys ever recorded, “Magic Carpet Ride,” by Steppenwolf, and “Long Train Running,” by the Doobie Brothers. (Give a listen to either one and see if the jungle monkey in your soul doesn’t wake up). And don’t even get me started on James Brown. Don’t. Even. Get. Me. Started.
But there’s a different kind of funk, a kind that is no friend to the writer. It’s like a wet, sticky cloud that follows you around, tying your hands together while at the same time whispering in your ear, “You have a lot of other projects that need your attention.” “The book isn’t going anywhere. Don’t worry about it.” “You only read half of chapter three to you writers’ group last week. That means you don’t have to have anything new to read until the 12th.”
That’s the funk I’m in right now.
That funk is a liar. That funk is a deceiver. That funk needs to go away.
The worst part is, of course, that I already know the cure: get your ass to work. Write! Stop writing about writing. Close your journal. Close Facebook Messenger and stop telling Craig, “I need to get to work.” Close your office door. Put some jazz on. Light some incense AND WRITE.
“But my computer is running slow. I need to tune it up!”
No, you need to write.
“But I have to research Bucharest.”
No, you need to write now, and add your well-researched details later.
The cold, hard fact is, (and I’m speaking about myself, but I believe this to be universally true), that the only remedy for writer’s funk is writing. Discipline, like funk, is its own reward.
Falling prey to the whispered lies is fine for someone who approaches writing casually. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, but it’s not the one I’ve taken. I look at writing as the calling on my life. I look at it as the thing I do best and the thing that I’ve known since childhood I would one day make my life’s work.
So is allowing myself to become the victim of what Roger Waters called “the creeping malaise” an option?
So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get ready for my nephew’s birthday party.
But after that, I’m going to write.