NewlyNested: Can MAD MEN Give You Writer’s Block?
a blogumn by Debra Goykhman
I began my week’s blog with the intent of writing about gardening. But then even with a clear idea in my head I sat in front of a computer screen unable to write more than three sentences on the subject. I couldn’t figure out why. I still want to write about gardening, it is still very much on my mind, but instead my mind went to a blank. Then I realized my writer’s block stemmed from television and specifically Mad Men. You might think this is a big jump, but let me explain.
Last time I wrote about how I cut cable out of my life. My television watching has gone down, but I still watch television on the internet. Right now I am finally watching Mad Men and I am currently on season three. When I first started with season one I found myself inspired to do more writing (I usually get inspired by anything entertaining that I like) then by season two my passion began to ware into a daily habit, until today when I noticed that my Mad Men viewing was making my mind blank.
I am now convinced that the show is a drug. It is truly fascinating and addictive. I almost like it as much as The Wire (even though The Wire has way more depth to it). Still, Mad Men has a different hold on me. I find myself fascinated by all the non-redeeming aspects of the characters and I am most intrigued when nothing is being said. At least half of the show’s running time must be filled with the characters smoking or drinking in silence and in those moments I think “wow, look at how complex their thoughts must be.” That moment is the drug. I find myself thinking I can replicate the same thoughts by staring and thinking, but the problem is that I just find myself thinking about thinking. Then my thinking leads me to understand that I have not given up my television vice.
However, I am not ready to quit Mad Men. I must admit that getting rid of cable has not made me into a more productive writer. I am the one who has allowed myself to be distracted by too many things. I know I want to write, so now I need a cure for the blank mind Mad Men has given me. I don’t really believe in writer’s block, but now I need a cure for it, or, at least some ideas on how to get the mind flowing. Help?