Into the Light: A Villanelle

One of the most common excuse used by writers for not producing any work is the infamous Writer’s Block. An unfortunate situation where nothing seems to flow from your pen, everything that manages to be squeezed out in ink is atrocious and all confidence is lost in your skill, convincing you you have no place at this desk or in the world of creativity.

But here’s some news for you: There is no such thing as Writer’s Block.  There is only a silence that you suddenly find is consuming you. But that silence comes from YOU. You are your own Block.

When I was first told this, I was almost insulted. But when I took a step back, I could understand it more. There are so many undiscovered truths and anomalies in the brain that we cannot even begin to understand – one of which is the beauty of the subconscious. Given thirty seconds, a pen, and a piece of paper, you can fill a page with words. However mundane they may be, they are still words, and they came from YOU. Who knows? These words may hold a tenuous story in the palm of their hands, just waiting for you to open your eyes and see it. They may uncover a list of food items that you realise you’re in need of and forgot to add to the weekly list. Or it may even just be the word ‘pen’ over and over again. But whatever reveals itself to you is a message, an indicator of what you are thinking and the capabilities of your skill that day.

There is no barrier preventing you from writing, just a weariness of forced originality. So…give up trying to be original. Take an everyday object such as a pen and write it on paper. Write me a pen. Write me a chair. Write.

But don’t walk away from it.

It was this way that I wrote the following Villanelle: I wrote lists of words, looked through images, listened to songs and realised there was no way I could create something half as impressive in my frustrated state. But eventually, with a bit of perseverance and a dollop of stubbornness, my list of words eventually guided me to the realm of time and light and how writing can take you there, creating the very bed in which you sleep.

So my advice when you’re blocked? Hush. Take a breath. And give yourself up to the subconscious. Who knows what you might find.

* * *

by Isabelle Grosjean

by Isabelle Grosjean

Into the Light: A Villanelle

The glinting silver pen will catch more than light,

so climb aboard the Somewhere-bound ship

before that little golden pocket watch stops in the night.


Comets wreathed in fire fall from such height

that way down on Earth there’s a gravity slip.

Still the glinting silver pen catches more than light.


It feels like crumbling, losing control, in spite

of the anchor of touch, lip to lip.

Don’t let that golden pocket watch stop, not tonight.


How can a presence set darkness alight

with fingers that dance, tracing arm, stomach, hip?

Watch the silver pen; it’s catching more than light.


A hand skates from yours, a movement so slight,

but it takes hold on life to a vice iron grip

that’s ignored by the pocket watch that stops in the night.


There’s no guidance here, just a desperate fight

with the age old advice to equip

yourself with a pen that will catch more than light,

and a little golden pocket watch that stops in the night.


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