Trying to escape from writers block? Have you tried a day trip to Friesland from Amsterdam? The roads might be quite busy because the Dutch are understandably eager to spread their wings. There are a number of interesting towns along the way such as Joure or Urk, which used to be an island and now is a Flevoland fishing village. There is a busy highway stop along the way back at the Lepelaar, a stop named after the Eurasion Spoonbill, a wading bird. (see the pic above)
At the Lepelaar stop you can find the Haji restaurant. With the Corona and the restaurant being busy, you might decide to get coffee at the take-out stand next door. On the counter, you’ll find enticing things like wrapped slices of firm nougat mixed with dried fruit. The coffee is button released but never-the-less not too shabby and American style, meaning probably the same size as what you would get at McDonalds.
Outside there are standing tables and one sitting bench. No doubt within a few minutes many little friends will appear. I’m talking about sparrows or “mussen” as the Dutch call them. Clearly, they are domesticated and have discovered this terrace as an endless supply of food. You can imagine the scene — the customers feel obliged to donate some crumbs in exchange for the entertainment offered by the 5 or 6 prancing birds who jump right on each crumb as soon as it lands. When the crumbs disappear so do the birds alas on to their next benefactor.
According to Lawrence R. Samuel, PhD, there have been many psychological theories about writers block such as “fear of failure, fear of success, or an immobilizing degree of perfectionism,” but the most likely reason is that the writer is “simply unclear about the direction his or her project should go.” Though some more desperate writers have sought to resolve their block by going out in the woods and screaming “as loud as they could, such a release able perhaps to purge the evil spirit from their literary soul,” I’m suggesting an alternative solution.
Go and listen to the singing sparrows.
When you return, if you still have writers block and miss the singing birds, you can download an audio meditation of birds singing or try a video of birds in nature. You can easily find a video on youtube with birds singing while wading in a fountain or river for instance. Both are quite nice for relaxation not to mention a break from writer stress. According to Kyo Maclear, “The birders I encountered in books and in the world shared little in common except this simple secret: if you listen to birds, every day will have a song in it.” Listening to these songs, you will no doubt find your muse.