Stick. Stack. Stuck.



Stuck. I’m stuck. Stuck in this seat this morning, dressed in my work out clothes, but not working out. I’m stuck with my computer—poised for work, the screen blank, my mind blank. Blank, blank, blank. I’m stuck with a list of blanks. My fingers are stuck, hovering over the keys, waiting for the click click click of the words, when they flow. It doesn’t come. Words escape me.  Reminders, taped to my cabinets, entered on my calendar, plugged into my phone, nudge and cajole: Come on; you can do it. Do it! Get back on track. Do it!

The stuck has been sticking around, dragging me off my course—a course I’ve struggled to set, bringing me down. A day of productivity is sandwiched between multiple days of nothing. Nada. Stuckness. The words are trapped inside, with my motivation, my chutzpah, my drive. Sticky notes in my head, on my computer, around the house urge me to move forward. “Write ‘New Starts’ piece,” for my writing group—originally due two weeks ago, but it does not come to me. Still.  New starts are in short supply right now. My own barriers, built with my own shit.

Humbled by an old friend’s comment on a previous post: “please stop writing about watching your own fruit rot – it’s compost compared to what you are capable of. ” Truth front and center; can’t look away, it reverberates in my head. I am touched, and nudged from this new source. Didn’t see it coming, now can’t see past it. So right, so dead on— motivating in the moment, even as I sit here (still) stuck. What am I really afraid of?

Afraid that I’ll strip naked, stand vulnerable, and not feel validated for the effort? Can I get a hip-hip hooray, if I can’t pat myself on the back? I toss and turn, playing out scenarios and working out strategies. I write new lists of things to do, things to put off.  Hard enough to call and make an appointment; let alone go to the appointment—I’ll leave it off the list for now. It’s not lost on me, that I jump on a plane, in a heartbeat, and embrace the adventure, but I get scared when there’s a fruit tree to climb, in my own yard. I stand in place, worrying and hoping that the blues don’t settle in for too long. Trying not to run into too many brick walls, of my own construction.

To do, to do, to do lists pile up, and become sticky notes, and then end up in the recycle bin. Recycled into new lists. The “to dos,” and the “not dones” stack up. The stuck is sticky, and holds me in place—a place where no movement occurs. Eat some more crackers, peanut butter and popcorn—nothing healthy—stuff it down. Full to the brim with my own insecurities and anxiety, I don’t move from that stuck spot despite the crappy view. As real excuses fade away—no birds to feed, the nest is nearly empty— I’m left with the obvious: letting my own fruit rot. Fruit flies are next. I hate fruit flies. Need to pick that fruit instead.

I’ll keep the work out clothes on; today’s not over. It still might happen. I might build up a sweat. Not exactly prolific today, but this is a start. This is the “New Starts” piece that I need to finish. Check, check; two stickies down and four to go for today.  It doesn’t answer what to do with that unpublished book, or the one that’s ¾ written… the author of three unpublished books. Not the fruit I want to eat. So I need to get a ladder and risk the fall; grab the fruit and hope it’s sweet. Putting it out there and trying to move on, that can be a start to the New Start. Check.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
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41 Responses to Stick. Stack. Stuck.

  1. Believe it or not, this post made me feel good! haha! If it makes you feel any better, Dawn, I think we’re all feeling sort of lethargic and uninspired lately. I feel like I’m stuck in cement – that’s why I’ve been reduced to posting quotes and youtube clips. 🙂
    Eh, it’s the gray season, it’s all the heaviness of emotions sitting on us, it’s being hormonal, (yes, might as well throw that in the pot, right?) Whatever. Oh, and for you it’s probably still jet lag.
    I have no doubt that with a little self-kindness, just a little, we’ll get ourselves back on track. In the mean time, pass the popcorn and peanut butter crackers. 😀


    • Thanks Lisa… I always hesitate to post these ones that sound down trodden, knowing I’ll get lots of support and positive feedback, but that I’ll feel a little more like a victim too. It was just the flow for today. My fingers wouldn’t work right, my brain is in sludge. There’s (obviously) a lot more to it, but this is what came out for now. Thanks for the support friend. 🙂


  2. Btw… the, “If by happy” quote cracked me up!!!


  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Loved the honesty of this post, and I think we’ve all been ‘stuck’ in one capacity or another. In fact, I almost talked myself out of going to walk on my treadmill right now while I catch up on a medical journal, but your post just inspired me to get my butt in gear. May not be what you intended, but hey, writing is all about eliciting a reaction in others, right? 🙂


  4. david m says:

    thanks for the smile. seems like it’s a worldwide phenomenon right now, dawn. it’s afflicting us here in sunny florida and even my sister in south africa who just emailed me today about being stuck with her writing! give it a bit-o-time, let it go and before you know it you’ll be “productive ” again.


    • Thanks David! I imagine it’s a teeny bit easier to get unstuck in royal blue waters? I hope so! There’s a lot behind it, and I’m hoping to move through this sludge and get back on track… Tough going though. Thanks for taking the time to share a thought David. Much appreciated!


  5. Adam S says:

    Why are so many people getting stuck right now? I’m not imagining this. It’s almost like the direction of the creative vortex has shifted directions. I hate to struggle, and hate seeing others struggle. If you need a kickstart, ask. I’d be more than happy to kick ideas around with you here. I’m chatty like that.


  6. eileenvhunt says:

    Interesting that you used the phrase “hip-hip hooray”. As it happens, I googled this earlier today. (“This phrase is thought to have its origins in the middle-age Latin battle-cry ‘Hieroslyma est perdita’, which means ‘Jerusalem is fallen/lost’) and you just returned from this ancient land. Food for thought. Yes! Pun intended. Yes! I loved your food focused travel blog. Yes! I’m a foodie and anything worth doing; {like eating every day} is worth doing well – agreed? Yes!

    I was also reading about Persephone this morning (greek Goddess of the underworld with whom I resonate) because Goddess is HOT ladies. She wasn’t dark; she was often misunderstood ~ naturally. Apparently she was required to return to the underworld (darkness, self reflection) during the winter for 4 months a year. This archetype compels us to mature, to know ourselves, to marry the dark and the light sides of our complex natures and to accept our personal power. Explains allot, – yes?

    Recently I’ve been reading and speaking to Pamela Madsen, author of “Shameless” who talks of becoming transparent. Openness scares the bejesus out of me as it demands tremendous courage. There’s got to be something to it then – right? What does this mean? F— if I know but it looks like you are trying to do this D.

    I feel like my poetry and prose {my truth} is weighing heavy against my pelvic floor, yearning to be birthed – so I’m spilling on the page – any page. In my opinion, my poetry is horrific, especially compared to the masters, the poets I so admire but I’m compelled regardless. There you have it, there it is.

    Let’s make a girl pact. How about we take the microphone away from our inner critic (i.e. yes, she’s endlessly chattering in our ear but we agree we don’t write or speak her words out loud for 2013)? What do you think – can you/we do it? Do we have the ovaries? Maybe I could do it if I didn’t feel so desperately alone.

    Also here’s what I think about turning 50…it means ‘5 O’s’ or a minimum of five orgasms a week. Yes, it’s all about me. That’s right.

    “Jump on a plane D”, BTW…My B-day celebration is happening this Saturday the 9th at my house (including a performance by my Belly Dance mentor and Diva extraordinaire) and there’s always room in the Inn. I’m not expecting you of course but I want you to know that you are sincerely welcome. In the spirit of transparency I also welcome serious success, painful passion, authentic truth, erotic pleasure, honest critique and compassionate love.


    • Hell girl, you really know how to compose a comment! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read your last big comment, as suggested in this very post. Love the way you think! Gets me all stirred up and thinking… as if I don’t do enough of that, but you do set me on a new tract of thought, which is goooood.

      Strange, that Hip-hip hooray could mean that… and yes, interesting that I just returned, and still feel so mired in thoughts of Israel. You do read the most interesting things…. Truly. Totally agree with the marrying dark and light… I think you can’t have one, without the other. Amazing how the Greeks got so many things, so long ago.

      I have been working on transparency and honesty in expression for a while now. Openness doesn’t really scare me, but trusting others with the openness can. Depends. When I write these posts, I forget about the “audience,” put it out there, and then deal with the feedback as it comes. If I think about the readers too much, while writing… nothing gets written.

      I don’t want to leave you alone out there, but I’m not ready to take the mic away from my inner voice. I think I am working on it, and taking it away from certain expressions of criticism, etc… but for now, I need to work on some of this and I think it harkens back to Persephone: I’m trying to look at the dark and the light. It’s finding that balance that I need to dig a bit deeper for. Lots of personal work going on, and it impacts many areas of life. I think the inner critique still has a role, but I appreciate (enormously) your loving point… it feels like a kind hug, when needed. Thanks E.

      I’d love to read some of your poetry… I am pretty sure it’s not horrific (silence, you inner critique!). I’m here if you ever want to share it. Do it; embrace it; write your words. Give birth!

      Thanks for all of these words of wisdom and thought. I hope you have even an inkling of how much it means to me.


  7. eileenvhunt says:

    Enjoyed. No loved, LOVED your Israel blog. It spoke to an ancient part of me. How long will a sea {my vagina} remain dead? Rhetorical! Don’t answer! 😉

    I broke through my placenta alone and have been thus ever since. (Not true! My mother was there then and still is and I’ve had amazing support since. Please pay no attention to my drama queen beyond shallow entertainment value).

    The counting (my most recent birthday poem for my beautiful girlfriend Jennie)

    A counting of the years since birth,
    a time to reconcile life’s worth.
    Look forward to this springing year,
    and count all of your conquered fears.
    Count lines on neck and face revealed?
    You’re gorgeous! That’s what I feel!
    Count lessons; blessings in disguise,
    the constant student masters wise.
    Some dwell on unpaid monies lent,
    If count you must, count time well spent.
    Count feelings deep and loving fine,
    count me your friend; the pleasure mine.


    • I’ll leave your vagina alone, but the poetry is very good! Are you taking any writing classes, or just exploring poetry on your own? This is a wonderful gift, to your friend. As for Israel, plan it and go. You would love it E.


  8. Dawn…thank you for sharing your ‘stuckness’. Actually, your writing sounds anything but stuck.:) I’m a huge to-do list maker…the only problem is that no one human could ever complete all of the tasks I put there each day…so some are destined to be moved to the next day’s to-do. But that is ok…for me, just writing them down relieves the stress…otherwise, I am worrying about what I am forgetting to do.
    I had my book that I felt needed to be ‘out’ there, helping parents. I know you have more courage than I do…so, in the words of Nike, ‘Just Do It’. It’s definitely a big undertaking…whether you send it out to agents/editors or self-publish…but if you believe in it, I believe in you!
    There is a book out there somewhere called, “Eat the Frog”…I think that is the title..all about tackling the hardest or least desirable-in-your-eyes task first thing each day…I don’t always do that…but when I do, the rest of the day flows so much better.:)


    • Thanks Vivian… I just need to bottle all this good juju, and sip it each morning! You’re right; I need to Nike this thing. Do as I say, not as I do is my motto, but I need to turn that on it’s butt and do it, not just say it.

      Thanks for the encouragement and continued support!


  9. Wow, what a comment thread- congrats. We all have our “stuck” moments, days, even months or more. You don’t sound as stuck as you perhaps feel and thanks for sharing this with us- hopefully that helped unstick you! Keep those work out clothes handy and climb the tree, eat the fruit. xox


  10. Yippee!! Good start, being vulnerable is what writing’s about. Well that and other stuff.


  11. The courage required to share such a personal story is inspirational. You reminded me of a time when I suffered through a period of depression, the breakup of my family. I would not be surprised if you were experiencing similar symptoms, having just departed from your loving daughter and all that separation by distance means.
    The good news is that you have written an incredibly insightful post, even through your ‘stuckness.’ That’s not to invalidate your feelings. It’s just to indicate you continue to be fruitful, even if at a lower level of energy and productivity than that to which you are accustomed. I would only suggest you not beat yourself up over it. Everything that needs to happen will happen when it is supposed to.


    • Thanks Mike. Yeah, a lot on the plate right now… but my stuck is my own stuff for sure. Definitely miss my girl, and my boy leaves for 7 months in China and Asia today. I miss them both, but stuck is stuck. I need to start checking off those lists, and moving forward.


  12. meagan mac says:

    This is very much how I was feeling before I started watching that dumb bird. By the way, I hate fruit flies, too. Passionately. My one published thing from last year in Narrative Magazine is called Fruit Flies. They’re insidious little things. I hope you don’t feel stuck anymore. 🙂


  13. Le Clown says:

    You are a skillful writer… I just deleted a previous comment in which I had used my favourite F word in sequence to produce symphonic alliterations, not knowing if it was too much for your blog… But I shall be back, and perhaps next time I’ll let the F words roam free…
    Le Clown


    • Holy main tent, Batman! Such an unexpected delight to see you here Le Clown. Let me be very clear… I have NO problem with the F word. Any of my friends, who read this comment you’ve left, will laugh… as I am frequently asked to reign it in. I think I’d have loved to have seen the previous comment as well, but just glad to have you stop by. Roam away, and do come back. Not like I’m waiting, but…



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