The Awakening: Writer’s Laryngitis

My noticeable In your silence...extended hiatus has been commented on by some. After a couple of months, I myself was unable to diagnose the root cause. What sparked my thinking was a note from our friend Beth M. Howard of The World Needs More Pie and Give Piece a Chance.

She lamented that although she has a collection of notes scribbled during her round the world pie making/peace inducing travels ready to be compiled into her next book, but she has not been able to find her voice.

Contemplating her dilemma, it occurred to me that I was suffering from what I have termed as writer’s laryngitis. Not to be confused with ‘writer’s block’, the ideas for stories surrounded me, but the words would not form. I could not get my fingers to perform the needed task to create sensible constructs that would be printable.

Other projects elevated in importance providing excuses for not writing. The first obsession was getting both our bed and breakfast and then our Cuenca apartment listed on as many rental websites as I could find. Following this, I challenged us to  do the same with home exchange sites after determining which was worthy of the monetary cost. All totaled, we are spread out over 22 booking and exchange sites.

Successive tasks suddenly seemed imperative regardless of how inconsequential they were prior. Thinks such as pulling the pilling off of old sweaters, organizing the several hundred books in the apartment in order by purchase date, deleting old and adding new phone numbers in the landline phone we never use, precipitously became essential for survival. It also speaks to the depth of my angst.

Although I could speak, I had lost my voice and lost my way. There was hope that a trip to Sicily, specifically Catania, would be the kiss from the handsome prince that would wake me from my wide-eyed coma. It didn’t.Words

Realizing I was well off-kilter, how to realign my life was still in question. Then I thought I would get a second tattoo. The design had been in my mind for some time, so this was the opportune time to bring it to fruition. Anticipating the pain was what would revive me, excitement and anxiety were neck in neck in the emotional race. Fortuitously or less than, I found probably one of the least painful, but most talented tattoo artists imaginable. My first tattoo back 24 years ago, was a tear jerking painful experience. This time it was smooth sailing, although my butt hurt like hell sitting for six and a half hours.

My new artwork was a self-caring experience. It had to be washed just so, wrapped in plastic wrap for three days, cared for in a special way, taking time and attention from mental disturbances and of course writing.

Then coincidentally, from yet another source, there was the final ‘Eureka’ moment. Eureka being Greek for “I found it”; I literally found parts of my speech through another person’s misfortune. I was reading Diane Ackerman’s memoir One Hundred Names for Love: A Memoir. She shares her life with her husband, Paul West after he suffered a stroke, causing him to have “the language paralysis called aphasia”. As only Ackerman can do, with poetic sentences of mourning, she gloriously expounds on husband Paul’s expansive vocabulary pre-stroke while lamenting his being reduced to monosyllabic words.

Albeit, I did not suffer a stroke, what robbed me of my written words was depression. Over time, there was the feeling that I was decompressing, like a storage bag where the air presses out until it is vacuum-sealed. Any feelings of creativity swooshed like a slow leak on a tire. Confidence dribbled away as maple sap leaks from the trees. Motivation was held hostage by captor called dispiritedness. Writer’s laryngitis or writer’s aphasia allowed me to visualize the words as if they formed a word cloud, but to piece them together took further mental energy than I could muster.

It seems there has been progress in my recovery. Lest I analyze it too extensively, let’s hope for the best. In days to come, some sharing of significant past events that have passed unwritten may appear; they have been untapped, but are building momentum in my awaking state. I hope you are willing to be part of the adventure.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.


  1. Ryan, I had planned –and assumed–that writing would be a big part of my retired life. For the first year or so, I too found all of the excuses that are always waiting for those wanting one. I have done considerable genealogical writing, but somehow that wasn’t the same. I finally realized that I really don’t want to write now and THAT IS PERFECTLY OK. Quite the revelation. And, with time, my decision may change. But for now, I am comfortable with being in the moment and not trying to capture it all in words. martha

    • Thank you for the note. Yes, I know this feeling as well. There are a dozen children’s stories that are 95% completed, but the thought of attempting to find a publisher keeps the other 5% at bay.
      At times, not writing has the same feeling as a volcano needing to erupt: constipated lava if you will. : ) Now, I feel the need to release once again.

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