Early in my career, a woman opened a door for me, one that has permitted me to open many others. I have always been very verbal in my appreciation of her, both in public and in private.
Opening that door was an action she regretted. I base that assumption on the subsequent twice-yearly phone calls in which she vented, dumped, and instructed me to behave in such a way that she imagined would garner her all of the opportunities I’d earned or created for myself. She also made the rounds of our mutual colleagues, feigning hurt and woe at imagined slights, enlisting them in believing that I’d done anything but show my gratitude.
The last time she phoned me, there was a new demand: that I stop thanking her. After more than two years, I found myself increasingly irritated with her full frontal rudeness and backstabbing whispering campaign. I’d always been able to breathe away or laugh off her shenanigans, but this time, I agreed to her demand. I stopped thanking her, both in private and in public.
And had my first bout of writer’s block.
I was plenty busy with all of the ancillary playwright tasks – submissions, readings, workshops – and tried hard to allay my worries and fear of never writing again – is anything ever so intense as the first time? Writer’s block was no exception, heinous, hideous, horrible.
After what seemed an eternity, one morning I awoke with an intense, unstoppable need to thank this woman again, and realized that I had constipated my soul in response to her demand. The next time her name came up in conversation, I talked about my gratitude.
That day, my writer’s block lifted.
So, onward to a free flow of gratitude, now and forever.
And the moral of the story is, a little radiography never hurts the soul.