Intellectually Barren by Bill Storie


By Bill Storie

A couple nights back I watched an old re-run of Frasier – the sitcom about a psychiatrist in Seattle, Washington State. Frasier is played by the immensely talented actor – Kelsey Grammer.

This episode was about he and his brother Niles having been asked by their publisher to write a book on the experiences of siblings, who, in this case, are both psychiatrists. But between them they simply could not write a word. They spent a night locked away in a hotel room together – got on each other’s nerves so badly that they actually started fighting. Needless to say, the words just did not materialize. They missed their publisher’s deadline.

Writer’s block they call it. Or in their case, Frasier and his brother reckoned they were just “intellectually barren.”

It made me think about how those of us daft enough to commit to writing each week for, oh, let’s say a Blog – ah-ha, a retirement blog perhaps. Oh, and let’s call it…..hmm ….let me see….. got it – we’ll call it Olderhood, can actually come up with topics.….!!

I knew a man once who was a prolific writer (he maybe still is of course, but I don’t know because we lost touch. Truth be told he went in the huff with me !!!). Anyhoo, this fellow actually wrote for a living.

One time I asked him how he came up with something to write about every day, or twice a day, or even more often than that. “Easy” he said. “I watch, and listen, and smell. I keep my eyes on everything I see. Whether that is an advert on the side of a bus, or a magazine in the dentist office, or the smell of a bakery as I walk past, or flowers in someone’s garden.”

Then he would write his article within minutes. Yes, minutes. He could rattle off about 600 words before you and I can get our laptop open. Much about the same length as this article.

Over several years, I have to say, I finally developed this same style of thinking and writing. I can look at the weirdest things and get inspiration.

I get flashbacks to the time when I was a child. Somehow, something triggers my mind back to those days, and somehow, someone pops up in my memory, and somehow some picture appears, and from somewhere, in the deepest part of my sub-conscience, a light goes on.

I wish I could explain it – but I can’t.

In fact, to be honest I’m glad I can’t explain it, because if I did, then perhaps I would stifle my playbacks and I’d be forced to force them out of me. Much better to let them dribble out at their own pace.

I used to get concerned each week about what I would write.

I would start thinking about it on say a Sunday, then by the time writing time came along (Tuesday evening usually) I would either have some topic in mind or I would be sweating it. I don’t do that anymore. I now realize that allowing the mind to drift from here to there, in times now, or times past, and watch, and listen and read books etc, I nowadays find that when I choose to start my weekly piece, I sit down, open the laptop and for some bizarre reason, the words fall out. I’m doing it now by the way as I write this article.

I watched the end of the Frasier episode, immediately came to my writing room, opened the laptop and voila, 20 minutes later, this masterpiece appeared. Well, ok, maybe not a masterpiece. Maybe just a truthful rambling.

If any publisher is reading this (and has got this far down) maybe she will contact me and offer me a million dollars advance on a great book “wot I could write”. Hmmmm.

I did say that the flashbacks were in my sub conscience …. I really meant that they are “in my dreams.”

(676 words, 20 minutes – piece of cake)

Thanks Frasier… !!!!!!!!!

By Bill Storie


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