Backstroking Through Peanut Butter


I’m in the throes of a rewrite that feels like I’m backstroking through peanut butter—I can’t see for beans, but I’m kicking, stroking, kicking, stroking, and doing all the right things to muddle through. This routine is necessary if I want to get to the end of the jar and finish the sandwich, but no new ideas are bubbling to the surface because shaking loose a bubble in this muck is rough work!

I’m not sure I can hack through it. Everywhere I look, I see whirlpools forming around stale chunks of plot. Bacteria are probably festering there as well. Why is this peanut butter crunchy when the label clearly says smooth? When I get to the bottom of the jar, will it be dry and cracked, like sun-scorched mud? Or will it be pure, straight peanut oil, which is certainly easier to navigate, but only serves to sog up my sando?

This expedition is tedious and tiresome. I feel unfit. I should quit. I should drop this mess into the composter and make a burrito instead. It’s weird that I even started with peanut butter because burritos are way easier and I prefer them in every way.

I’m pretty deep in the jar, though, and I’m not sure I can extract my big sticky feet. And what if I had one more of those inspired moments, producing one last golden peanut of an idea? One final frog kick could propel me to the Dagwood at the finish line.

I haven’t had a moment like that in a while, though. It’s been too long of a dry spell. S.O.S: I’ve entered un-spreadable territory.

There was that one idea… It was a pretty good one, too, a couple of weeks ago. It felt like I grew a pair of swim fins with serrated edges to slash through the brown. I torpedoed through four chapters.

Maybe I’ll hit another bubble soon. Maybe I should wait for it…

I guess I’ll stick it out. Too much time spent in this puddle of clay to leave now, and besides, I’ve run out of room in my drawer.

If you need me, I’ll be over here, kicking, stroking, kicking, stroking…

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