I think I’ve hit the Writer’s Wall.
After feverously completing working drafts for “The Pursuit of Happiness” and “Liberty”, I am now stuck on “Life.”
I sat down this morning with only the concept of the first and last scenes and no idea how I would get from the beginning to the end. I decided to do some research. Since the story is set in the early 1960s at Indiana University, I went to the website for their archives. There was a lot on the late sixties protests, but I couldn’t find anything posted on the early 6os .
I called an archivist and she helpfully recommended a resource I can access here at IUPU-Columbus. She also said there were some early collections of interviews with alums at the library (in Bloomington) she would help me sort through if given a few days notice.
Next, I downloaded the lyrics to a few popular songs of the era I may use in the story.
Finally, I started composing the first scene. It was like pulling teeth. I was thoroughly uninspired. I managed to squeeze out about 1,000 words, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I had to re-write over half of them.
Now is when I face the true test for the writer – how to keep going when the words don’t flow.
My strategy will be to thoroughly immerse myself in research. For next few weeks, I will live, eat, sleep, and breathe the early 60s. I will travel to Bloomington and talk to older residents who lived through it. I will search through yearbooks, oral histories, maybe even learn how to use microfiche. I’ll make note after note before sitting down in my recliner to crank out the story sketch.
I would be interested in hearing from any of you who have ties to the early 60s or, even better, IU in the early 60s. Anything you might recommend I look at or listen to, anybody you know I might contact for an interview – whatever you think might be helpful to get this story launched, I would love to hear from you.
For now, I’ll leave you with a “blast from the past” as I begin the journey. Here’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” written by Bob Dylan in 1962 and performed here in 1966 by Peter, Paul, and Mary.