I’m currently facing the oddest form of writer’s block I can imagine. Over the past year or so, I’ve been sketching out a new novel tentatively titled Josh at the Door. Like all my fiction, it’s based on real events, in this case my twenty-year-plus relationship with a woman. The male protagonist is called Josh. The woman he loves is named Mimi. The original outline of the book showed how they met, how their relationship developed, how it ended when Josh died, and how Mimi shows the courage to go on living without him.
That all changed when the real woman in my life died at the end of March 2020. I found myself grieving in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic, forced to stay isolated at home and to avoid all human contact. I was suddenly in a new world unlike any I’d ever encountered before.
So Josh at the Door as I originally conceived it no longer works. The book now must be about mourning during the lockdown. I suspect the story will be told in flashbacks, as Josh remembers how he met Mimi and their lives converged, their adventures together, her sickness, and her death. It will end as he finds the strength to go on without her.
I know what I have to do, but, so far at least, I haven’t been able to do it. I’ve tried repeatedly to work on the draft, but I can’t write. Grieving won’t let me.
All that said, I know in my soul that this is a story I must tell. I’ll keep at it until the words begin to flow. Something tells me that when that happens, it will be an avalanche. I’ll be writing all day every day. I must be ready when the dam breaks.