I’M coming out of holiday lethargy but I still pinch myself to realize vacation’s over.
I think this usually happens after throwing, along with caution to the wind, all thoughts of work and plunge into a looong vacation with people enjoyable to spend time with.
My hiatus from writing began Christmas eve, and didn’t end until after last year’s alcohol vaporized from my breath.
I realized something was wrong when I sat in front of an LCD screen and froze. My brain ultimately failed to send signals to my fingers.
Writer’s block –in this case, reporter’s rustiness– has set in. Even attempting to blog failed to stir up the Anne Frank in me.
I realized it was going to be one of those days when a journalist stops from what he or she does best and gets bested in the process.
I recalled the time when I was working for the defunct Today newspaper when colleague VG and I vied for who can churn out the most stories in a day. He won with five, a record we both failed to trump up for five years.
My second biggest fear –the first is getting my hands chopped– roared its head: the inability to write.
So I dug out the reliable formula: read, walk and talk.
I returned to Michael Connelly’s Crime Beat, a collection of stories from his days as a reporter for the LA Times before penning several best-selling fiction novels.
I tried to finish Nutcracker by 40-year writer and journalist for Life magazine Shana Alexander about the murder of Mormon and multi-millionaire Franklin Bradshaw. Halfway there.
Both books, though published years ago, became the anvil where the first sparks of inspiration flew.
Connelly’s incisive crime reportage stoked the reason why I chose journalism as a career. Alexander’s narrative of spending Sundays with fellow journalists reminded me how colleagues in the industry like VG, Arnold, and Boojie has helped nurture the profession.
As I read, I jotted down sentences that jump out from the pages.
I thumbed through a pocket dictionary to find meaning of words these authors intimated to me.
By the end of the first week after the new year began every sunrise was a cause for celebration. I was alive again: ready to pound the streets, to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” as journalist Finley Peter Dunne was credited to have said.
Nonetheless, reading has proven once more its redeeming role in a journalist’s life.