Against the storm


Okay, Lynn: put your metaphorical big girl pants on and let’s give this a go.

I’ve heard it said that a way to break through writer’s block is to just write. Hammer at the keys and just go. I guess staring at the page doesn’t move things along.

At the moment, I feel like a person in a small row boat, bobbing slowly along in a foggy sea. Occasionally, cyclopean hulks will drift by, their shadowy wake dwarfing the light and any sense of safety. The pandemic, the war, the campaign of hate, etc. I would say that feels like three out of four on the horseperson Pokémon apocalypse special. If you catch ’em all, you get a free blow on the trumpet and after a bit of argybargy, a fig leaf plus a lot of time off work. 😉

Given all the above, I am not looking at the news and muting the radio. I cannot look. Not because I don’t care…. quite the opposite. What good will tears do? The behemoths pile onward…

So… which is the blogger’s equivalent of taking a deep breath, I am instead trying to look after those who are dear to me. Not just the Ever Lovely Mrs J and our family, but the folk (trans & partners) who come to Chams. I answer emails, I offer organisations advice & discussion, I help keep the group ticking over. I do this because I like to and indeed I want to. I want to make a difference. Not for ego or vainglorious reasons, but almost as an act of rebellion. To push back with acceptance, kindness, and empathy. Perhaps, like the line of write the book you want to read, I try to give the help and support I wanted all those years ago

This won’t stop the juggernauts, but it is something. Pick your metaphor to fit in with the above. Personally, I’ll go with a group of people huddled in a shelter while the storms rage outside. Laughter, kindness, welcome, and perhaps even love; they’re the things that I think define us as people.

With the above in mind, I would like to thank those of you who commented last time with kind words, ideas, and encouragement. Likewise to those of you who emailed in. It helps. ❤️ I’m sorry I’ve not replied yet. I’m not quite back to to speed yet.

Attending Chams last night helped too. Not just meeting with friends, but meeting new people too. To listen to them and their stories. What brought them here and what they hoped to find. It’s a break from the.gloom and a chance to put aside the mask, to just be me.

L x


  1. Writer’s block, what writer’s block? A lovely post, powerful metaphors and a challenging call to arms.
    Those big girl pants work Lynn.
    And there are lot of your allies in that small boat with you, both taking soundings and rowing. Maybe that metaphor works better if we are alongside you in a flotilla of small boats. Whatever.
    Thanks for your post.

    1. The block as in…. well, frequent start stops, about four abandoned drafts, and putting off writing anything until the evening. That type of thing. 🙂 But, perhaps like trying makeup for the first time, you just have to do and try with what you’ve got.

      Thanks for the kind words and yes, perhaps a flotilla of small boats. Generally going the same way, but that doesn’t matter. We should be free to drift and find the route that speaks to us.

      In the words of the late Mr Hicks:
      “The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.”

      PS: Where did you get that new avatar from? 😉

  2. Only four abandoned drafts? Well, yes, if that’s writer’s block then we both have it, although several of my drafts have never even made it as far as a keyboard.
    Perhaps if we – along with anyone else in the same position – get together behind this block and all give it a good shove, it it might help dislodge it.

    Meanwhile, it’s good that Chams is there to help.

    1. Sorry to hear that, Susie. I almost said ‘sorry to hear you’re in the same boat’ but I didn’t want to cheapen things with a pun.

      That four doesn’t include another handful of the tongue-in-cheek shorts either. Even now, I can’t quite bring myself to say satire or comedy. Maybe your idea about giving the block a push through teamwork would indeed help. Hmm, that’s made me think.

      Oh, and please accept my apologies for the delay in emailing you back.

  3. I’m enjoying the idea of a flotilla of boats together ‘gainst the winds – puts me in mind of scenes from Battleship Potempkin where the small boats bring food to the sailors. I think there’s something in that optimism of just how effective collective effort, even if unco-ordinated, can be.

    Writer’s block, I find, is a necessary part of writing well as it prevents meandering and loss of focus. On that note, I enjoy those shorts and, well, any level of completion is welcome – you can always go back and polish them for a future post – it would display your method and, perhaps, help make them something you can put in a compendium. 🙂 I mean, not saying I’d buy it, but I’d buy it.

    1. Yes, the idea of people coming together, as with the boats, that does appeal. Plus, I guess in the real world, that’s how grass root organisations start off.

      I think with the short pieces, there’s an idea going on and there’s pleasure or interest in exploring it. Is getting something into a shape where the birth the journey through and the ending work.

      I suppose that unlike stand-up or blogging, the piece launches untested on its own. It’s the feedback bit that would probably improve a written piece. Perhaps that’s why proper writing is different to the malarkey that goes on here. I mean, there’s no draft and umpteen reworks to hone something….

      … or maybe that’s just my incredibly low standards 😁

  4. Perhaps writer’s block is also a story’s way of telling you’ hang on, I’m not finished yet’.
    May be the best thing to do at that point it not to try and force a finish, but go off and do something else and let it lie for a while. Several writers have written about how they had an idea for a story but it was only when they came up with a different contrasting idea that would act as a counterpoint that they knew they now had a proper story that was ready to be written.
    I think Charlie Jane Anders mentions this in her introduction to her short story collection ‘even greater mistakes’ – many of which are LGBT+/trans themed, including the most harrowing and angry story about a radical form of conversion therapy that I’d read. Even more shocking that it immediately followed on from a bonkers Galaxy Quest fanfic romp.

    1. That does seem a good way to look at it, thanks Susie. That an idea is there, but it may need some reflection and/or rework to get it into a reasonable enough shape. Oddly, there was an excerpt from a writing course that talked about the improvement process. The crux of it is not “this thing is broken” or “I am a bad writer”, but that the piece, the language, etc isn’t quite there yet. That and throwing some self care into that mix, saying that if you are working towards improvement, that’s still progress.

  5. Don’t underestimate the power of small acts of kindness. If we all do a little bit, and do it regularly, people’s lives improve. And that change can add up in the long run.

    Think of how tiny an ant is, but then think of those massive anthills they get in Africa.

  6. I’m glad you got to Chams. An A1 outfit as always – you do have a knack for style, Lynn. A new career as a personal shopper beckons …

    and I hope things are improving all round.

    Love, Sue x

    1. Born to shop, but forced to work 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words, Sue. Things are a bit up and down for everyone at Chez Jones. However, we can only do our best in the environment we find ourselves. With luck and effort, things will improve in time

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