The Desert

Written By: Daniel Alcantara
Photo Courtesy of

I’ve been writing either stories or songs or articles like this one since I was a child. It used to be that I wrote when I felt like it and that felt often enough but here I find myself completely without any material whatsoever. I’ve been here before and it’s usually when I start to take in all manner of content trying to get inspired and influenced. I saw a movie that changed my life but here I sit not able to write about it. Believe me, I tried. But how do you really write about going to see a movie? There’s no material there.

I tried writing about how I’ve begun to play my Gretsch guitar again after a long period of silence from it because I could only play through headphones. Now I’ve got an amp and have started to write music again but I can’t write music for an article. You don’t want a 500-word song, trust me.

I took in a lot of music while my wife and I were on vacation, a vacation that included about 6 or 7 hours of driving from home to the location and back home again. I still don’t have anything to say about that. And it hurts. I can usually fake something until it works but not this time. As I type this, Iron & Wine is coming from my computer’s speakers and while this used to be the perfect writing music for me, all that is coming is this long-winded whine-session about how I can’t write anything. My kitchen is a mess and I’d rather be cleaning it than writing this.

How did I get to this point? How do I get out? Those two questions are racing through my head and maybe writing this is my way of getting out. I don’t even know if this is worth sending in, but I’m going to anyway. It’s words and it’s got a bit of a story. Any creative person has been in this exact same place many times before and no matter how many times it happens, it never gets easier. The creative process is so organic and so natural at times when others, it feels like you’re trying to grow a farm in the desert. No matter how much water you pour on it, nothing can grow there. And that is the struggle of anyone that tries to make being creative their way to make a living.

What do you do when there’s nothing left in the soil that you’ve been working? That soil that’s rewarded you so many times before with the most amazing surprises? Some might stay there and wallow and take the dirt and make it shine. Others move on to a new patch of ground to see what might be in the soil. Is either method better than the other? I’d have to say that the former is much more commendable. It forces you to be even more creative before you’re sure that you’ve exhausted every possible avenue available to you. And that’s what I’ve found myself doing as I’ve been writing this article. I’m trying to make the dirt in this creative desert into something that I can use. Something that you can use. There isn’t much here, but I hope that it finds someone that is struggling to make something work when everyone else has moved on to greener lands. Hold out, something good will come. You just have to work for it.

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