The De-Evolution of Stonehenge

“Stonehenge was produced by a culture with no written language, and at great historical remove from the first cultures that did leave written records.”
–Wikipedia, the ultimate source of "Fact"

"The Druids!
No one knows who they were
Or what they were doing…
Where the demons dwell
Where the banshees live
And they do live well…”
–Nigel Tufnel in Spinal Tap’s ode to… “Stonehenge”

“Seriously – I’ve got a writer’s block the likes of Stonehenge clogging my brain this morning.”
-Your Troubled Writer as of 8:49… this morning

“I mean, really – at the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of rocks in a field…”
-Nameless Dude on blog re Stonehenge


Chiseling Away at Writer’s Block: Part One
The Microsoft Solution: Explore New Environments!I have no idea what the hell to write about.

At the top right-hand corner of this window, a little box implores that I Type a question for help!

The obvious inquiry: What the hell should I write about?

Microsoft Office Online’s ready (and oh-so-foreseeable) response?

Camping trip itinerary.

Perhaps I phrased the question poorly. Do the people at Microsoft consider camping trips hellish of nature? I mean, I know I do, but I’m an indoors-y kinda gal. I favor such accoutrements as: conditioned air; bug-less food; roofs; water; avoidance of The Blair Witch; bathroom facilities that do not include the possibility of poisons a) ivy or sumac running rampant and fiery o’er my ass, or b) forcibly sucked from said ass by a most unwilling (and likely never again heard from) friend due to surreptitious snake-bite; shaving without fear of bear attack due to nicking of leg and resulting blood scent carried on breeze; etc., etc.

When I clicked on the hyperlink provided (because, hey – you never know what kind of story might lie within a camping trip itinerary), a box sprang up, vast in its blankness save a line of tiny, nearly indiscernible print across the center, reading: The preview image cannot be displayed at this time.

What, I don’t even get to peruse a standard-issue snapshot of a tent? What’s my inspiration here, people?

Chiseling Away at Writer’s Block: Part Two
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the frickin’ rub

Sleep is that most wonderful of gifts. Without it…we would all…be perpetually awake. And that would mightily suck. I would tire of each and every one of you with the greatest rapidity, and grow bored with every thing, wearing each thing out in record time as, for me, if every moment, every second, is not filled by some thing, I will fall into madness.

That’s not true. That’s not true at all. I am, without a doubt, the greatest of tale-telling, Quixote-lovin’, lotus-eating prevaricators.

Should sleep fall by the wayside in the future, much like our useless primeval pinky fingers (although I find them quite endearing when appended to otherwise genetically lamentable, tea-swilling Brits), I would, with the slipperiest of greasy ease, slide into perpetual reverie. Fantasy and laze, a woolgathering haze – whatta’ way to tickle away the hours ‘o the days.

In fact, I believe the country – Nay! The world! – would award me a prize of Nobel stature for my prominence in torpidity and stargazing.

“Professor McDermott stands…sits…as testimony to the world that with great…with great…(yawwwwwn) dedication and (stretches arms over head)…and… I’m sorry – where was I? Oh, yes – with great…um, dedication? And steadfast…application?...this world can rise in a united effort to…be seated. And…rest. Man, this was really exhausting. Can we call it a night – mail her the damn award? Coolness.”

See? My parents can no longer claim my twelve years of collegiate education completely useless. My future is tremendous with zero potential! After all, I did master the fine art of not only writing creative, but also the additional (and exceptionally trickier, more taxing of the mind) talent of simultaneously sleeping upright at my desk while nodding in studious, punctiliously timed agreement with the professor’s lectures. I even managed to ace the “I see exactly your point” squint-about-the-eyes despite my somnolent state, but my fist-at-chin posture (picture “The Thinker” – there ya go) in an effort to look pensive didn’t work out so well. Heads naturally bob in vertical-slumber; hands will drop in abandoned marionette fashion from defeated jaws.

“I lost all feeling in my right forearm,” I explained to my Issues in Literature and Cultural Studies professor after a particularly sleepy and disruptively noisy afternoon of repetitive knuckle-cracks against my desktop. When he responded to my justification with prolonged staring and silence, I further clarified, “From writing. So much. My…ahm…uh, two novels…for my dissertation.”

“Ahhhhhh…” the class lauded. I believe my peers glimpsed, long before I observed in myself, the future-fantastic of one anesthetized, apathetic Annie.

“Be sure to take care of it properly then, Miss McDermott,” Professor Impressed clipped, his annunciation so Dead Poets perfect.

“Indeed, sir,” I nodded, squinting thoughtfully, seeing exactly his point.

Chiseling Away at Writer’s Block: Part Three
The Internet: On the Origin of Specious

Google proves an astounding, immediate, wealthy source of information; a veritable endless and ever-expanding encyclopedia. I utilize it often for the perfection of quotes and fact-checking purposes as my brain, more often than not, proves the consistency of oatmeal. Sans sugar. Extra milk. Re-heated.

However, the terms “facts” and “Google” should be considered, by and large, mutually exclusive.

At least as they relate to writing and seeking out resolutions to writer’s block. Let us explore the most instant of results provided, shall we, Old Chap? Utilizing the most critical, analytical of eyes! the keenest of faculties! the most scientific of methods! We shall forage the great Google deep for the most authorial of anecdotes! writerly of writs! sagacious of scribbli—

Ah, we regret to inform you, Troubled Writer, that your fearless leader, goodly Darwin, was sadly snapped up and swallowed whole by an outrageously era-inappropriate, Late-Cretaceous period Tyrannosaurus rex.

Continue we shall, though, in an effort to preserve and acclaim his good name.

Once more into the breach for our dear friend, Dirwin!



Eh, bastard never knew when to shut his pie-hole, anyway.

Trial #1: “Quick Tips to Avoid Writer’s Block”
Billy Wolfrum

How Do I Start?

I’ve met many writers who have complained that their biggest problem was writing a lead to whatever article, feature or story they wanted to write. To me, the answer has always been simple: Just sit down and start writing.

Ah. Ah-ha! Ah-ha-ha!!


Well, hell – that didn’t help at all.

Quick Tips

Still can't get going. (Um, no. Please see above.) Here are a couple ideas: Think of a conversation you had earlier in the day. Start typing it out. Wish you had said something differently? Here's your chance. Write it out, regardless of whether it has anything to do with the story you want to write. It will help, however, as you'll be able to feel the creative juices beginning to flow.

A conversation I had earlier in the day… Perhaps one where I wish I’d said something differently. Okay – okay – this might work!

Creative juices, yes. Juices, flowing, yes. Grapefruit. Juice. I need a drink.

Annie: Busta! How’s my boy this morning?


Annie: You wanna’ go outside? Huh?


(Now, here’s where I’d like to change what I said, or, to be more accurate, insert some dialogue that I did not say, as I regret terribly not having said it. It should have been said. Not having said it is to say of myself, nothing. Not to negate what has been said about saying nothing: “If you have nothing to say, say nothing.” [Which, it goes without saying, says quite a lot.] Which is not to say I had nothing to say, but that I had not yet thought of something to say, as nothing had yet occurred to me. As something has now occurred to me, I shall say something in the wake of what was not said. Which is to say something of nothing.)

I am Hemingway. I am Faulkner. I am Virginia-fricking-Woolf!

Annie: Buster, my Chihuahua so fair, I apologize most sincerely. I should have inquired about your evening. Did you sleep well – sleep deep? Did you, indeed, find peaceful slumber? Did Elysian dreams of meat-flavored treats and lascivious Jack Russells visit your tiny, apple-head? Did your blanket so orange provide warmth and comfort on a night so cold and unforgiving? Did you find your water bowl full enough, potable and refreshing in its flavor?


Annie: My Darling Dog, please, tell me why you stare at me with such sadness – such imploring pools of depth! I must know – did my slight upon waking you this morn leave you so bereft of spirit, so aching with sorrow, that you might never forgive me? Might I never assuage this wound of selfish grievance? Upon my soul, I swear I shall brave the fires of hel

Buster: lifts leg, pees on Annie’s foot, returns to orange blanket, rolls eyes up to hers, blank of expression.

Damn dog.

I am…V.C. Andrews.

“Quick Tips” my ass.

Trial #2: “How to Avoid Writer’s Block: Give Yourself Permission to Write Badly”
Rhonda Leigh Jones

Fatal Error: duplicate results re: Trial #1

Trial #3: “How to Avoid Writer’s Block: Self-Hypnosis for Writers”
J. Seymour

Self-hypnosis? Really? The forever-fatigued can put herself to sleep? Then write?

This is too easy!

Before the article elucidates what could prove to be the single most awesome phenomenon I’ve ever stumbled upon, it offers up a few alternative swords that you might fashion from your block a mightier pen.


The wait and see method is the most often recommended and far least preferred method of getting writers block help. Writing is in the blood of most writers. Being unable to write all of the sudden for them would be like a musician suddenly robbed of an instrument or the tools required to play his or her instrument of choice. The time method works by simply walking away and trying something else for a half hour and then coming back ready to begin writing - in theory.

Wow. So – in theory, now – “time” would, theoretically, indicate that one would allow for the passage of moments – the segmentation of the aforementioned “time” into briefer lapses – to serve as a “method” - with the supplementation of the excruciatingly imperative factors of “walking away” and “trying something else” – then “coming back.” (Emphasis mine.) With this equation, measured in careful quantity, one cannot fail in their effort to “begin writing” – in theory.

(Remember well, Troubled Writer, that writing is only in the blood of “most writers” – you may or may not have been born with this recessive gene.)

I have scribed seventeen Pulitzer Prize winning novels, won twelve PEN Faulkner awards, shelved seven National Book Awards for Poetry, claimed four Wallace Stevens Awards and reign as the current Poet Laureate of The United States.

In theory.

Free Writing

This technique involves basically writing nonsense for a certain period of time - generally five to ten minutes. (Generally. However, since you’re totally freaked out with a word deadlock and potential deadline and such, don’t bother yourself with time specificity.) How it works is you take a piece of paper and a pen (you sure, Moses? Not two stone tablets and a spatula?) and write everything that comes to mind for a specified amount of time. (Wait - what happened to “generally” because I freed up my entire afternoon! Well, at least now you're being specific.) Non-sense, song lyrics, nursery rhymes, or even a grocery list can help.

Just write whatever pops into your head and do not stop until the timer goes off. There are some who say it offers no writers block help at all while others swear by it. If you are desperate, it's certainly worth a try.

Free-writing! I love free-writing! And I believe it should be hyphenated, as it’s pronounced one-word-like – freeeeee(barely-a-pause-not-indicative-of-a-space-but-a-hyphen)writing!

However, the word “nonsense,” you illiterate streetwalker (whoops. J. Seymour, upon further review, is actually one James Seymour. So? Like gender inhibits his potential to whore himself?), is one word – not a hyphenate. You had it right the first time, you disreputable dummy.

And I’m supposed to be taking writing advice from you, copywriting concubine? Good Lord.

Free-writing is a wonderful exercise I utilize in my classroom on a regular basis. My students hate it - until it works for them. I take offense, Street-Walker, Texas Ranger, to this reference of one’s need to be “desperate” of authorial nature in order to apply said implement. I mean, a grocery list? A grocery list? What sort of god-awful, bottom-treading writer would attempt to begin a writing piece based on something like a…

…camping trip itinerary?

James, you ignorant slut.

Self Hypnosis

This method involves learning to enter into a state of relaxation that bridges the gap between your mind and your fingertips. Those words that are just beyond your grasp are suddenly made accessible because you are using an underutilized part of your brain as part of your writing routine. There are few methods of writers block help that can surpass this method when it comes to success.

Writer’s. Writer’s. That’s an apostrophe. Look – there’s another one! And another! Possessive! The writers are possessed! (“The writers” - there’s the plural – “there’s” = there is! Yeeeeee! Look how this works!) The power of Christ compels them! The few methods belonging to/of writer’s block compel the writers to own an apostrophe! Looky, looky, you win a cookie!

James has an article on how to write – published! – on the internet.

I am reading said article in a converted loft over two horse stalls. In my pajamas. Drinking grapefruit juice. You thought I was kidding about that earlier? Writing makes me quite thirsty.


There’s a gap between my mind and my fingertips. I believe it’s referred to as my “shoulders and arms.” I need to enter into this gap a state of relaxation. Because the words just beyond my grasp are gonna be at my fingertips once I tap into it… This is the surefire way to beat writer’s block – none better, says Jezebel James.

I am really gonna do this.

Here goes.

Annie: James, I do believe the clap has gone to the underutilized part of your brain.

Making the Move

At the end of the day you, as the writer, are in control of this particular plot twist. Is the hapless heroine going to take the plunge and open her mind to possibilities or is she going to do the same thing that has been failing for so long? Writers block help is at your fingertips, are you going to get the help you need?

Indeed, it is the end of my day, and I am the writer, twisted with plot, your heroine hapless. (Though I am duly shocked our corner-candy conductor, James, didn’t spell it “heroin.” The dumb wench.) Has my mind been opened to possibility? Possibly. Am I (as the strumpet so lyrically wove) “going to do the same thing that has been failing for so long?” (Jesus Jiffy Pops Popcorn, what a terrible sentence.) Tis' unlikely, but failure is always an option. Apparently, there is a hotline available if ever I stumble the writer’s (that’s a goddamn apostrophe, James – you better recognize!) block again, if I am to believe the intonation of our web-slinger’s closing, run-on line.

Jeez, is the situation that dire? Do fellow Troubled Writers attempt to dash out their brains on the boulders of creative impasse? Is there some collective of the recovering blocked who once sat at insomniac vintage Royals, hands threaded through sweat-slicked hair, staring with maniacal eyes at the opening line It was a dark and stormy night…

“I just need someone to give me the help I need!” they cried, ripping with a papery scream of terror the page from the platen.

I dunno. Maybe if they’d just gotten with the times and bought a computer, instead of trying to be all hipster, old-school cool about things, they would’ve encountered The Microsoft Solution.

I mean, really – writer’s block help is at your fingertips.

Or at least, the beginnings of a truly heinous camping trip.

Final Analysis: The Futility of Rock-Banging
In Praise of Cecil Darvin…Chauncey Delwin?

I hear Stonehenge is nice this time of year, despite an influx of indigenous Banshees. However, having (metaphorically) stood before the ruins and as one who sincerely desires for you, Troubled Writer, the least hellacious of outdoor-excursions, I must share that Stonehenge: The Extreme Campground Adventure! proves for your RV a very short, cyclical (indeed, spiraling) journey. (And RV’s are a bitch to corner. I grew up in Florida; I knows these things.) The information pamphlets? Eh – produced by some culture with no written language! (Or, at the very least, at great historical remove from one with written records.) Your tour guides? These cloaked, pale, mute little buggers (save their perpetual moaning) who offer no further direction whatsoever – they just walk in circles or stand before the stones, dumb! I mean, quite literally, no one knows who they are or what the hell they are doing!

There you are, holding a wordless brochure (it doesn’t even have pictures because – damn you, Bill Gates! – The preview image cannot be displayed at this time), led around by a bunch of grieving monks whose sadness, you suspect, lies rooted in the possibility that they were born with two left feet, as they just keep walking in circles about these damn, ginormous, boring-ass, flinging-flanging rocks.

Jeezus-pleezus, sure they’re big and all, but can’t somebody chuck one over? See what’s under there? Unearth the goddamn mystery already?

You’d at least house a flicker of hope that an oblivious octogenarian RV pilot would back into one of those monoliths whilst attempting to navigate their way the hell outta there. (“Hank, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but…but I believe I’m bored, and I’d rather go back to that hell-hole in Florida – that Venice town – than stay here another second! Punch it!”)

So seek help in unlikely corners. Like the upper-right of your monitor, for example. Go back to school. Revisit history. Analyze “facts.” Talk to your dog. Drink some juice. (It really does spark the creative spirits…I swear by it! Others say it offers no writer’s block help at all.) Wait. When that doesn’t work and you’re all nice and pissed off, go pet your dog. (I’ve heard it lowers the blood pressure – in theory.) Don’t resort to street-hustling for a living. You’re better than James. (No, really, Troubled Writer – you are.)

Because despite all the hype, the truth about Stonehenge is, at the end of the day…it’s just a bunch of rocks in a field. And if I fill the gap between my mind and my fingertips (read: shoulders and arms) with the tangible (the far less cumbersome, significantly lighter rocks of a field) rather than overloading the intellect with the undefined (the indistinct, crushing burden of the bluestones), I should be all right.

In other words, don’t pitch yourself a fit. Pitch yourself a tent!

I’m sure you can find a preview image…somewhere.

"Stonehenge presents one of man's first attempts to order his view of the outside world."
Stephen Gardiner, British Architect

"Dude! That guy's mowing Stonehenge's lawn!"
Annie McDermott, Terrible Writer

Cup Full of Butterflies

Preface: This was written in mid-December of 2008, about 7 months into my sobriety/clean-time. Not only did I struggle with sanity—as in, the concept smacked me fresh, brilliant and terrifying with its sting of clarity (and lifelong unfamiliarity)—but now that my mind processed thought un-anesthetized, I was forced to deal with painful current and past issues as they arose—without allowing the needle to lapse into the vinyl pink flesh of a Floyd groove. That is to say, to I could no longer spin "Comfortably Numb."

That winter, I traversed some bumps in the road—maybe a little…definitely a lot rockier than I like to let on. It's the past, however, that came crashing over me—a rockslide of traumas I'd for years (a lifetime) been, in various ways, not feeling. The memories battered, with spectacular bursts, my so newly righted head and the anger...the sadness...the loss flowed from within until I felt I'd bled it...with-out. I spent that fall and winter loosing a landslide of my own via the written word (Grandpa always said I had "a headful of rocks") until finally, I could focus on the present. I suppose you could say that by getting clean, I ended up "stoned...immaculate."

Additionally, there was a good deal of (heavy-duty) therapy going on at that time. It does a body good. It also makes for some fast and fierce writing you don't necessarily think of as "publishable"—in fact, you're not quite sure what the hell to do with it—until you delve into the cyber-world a few months later and discover this "blogging-thing." Yeah, this is pretty bloggy. Blarghy. Whatever.

I do not mean to offend anyone with the opening half of this piece; then again, I am a writer, like it or not. (Notice, I did not say I am a good one.) This is a piece—a piece of me. As a writer, it is not my place to apologize to the reader. Given the forum on which this will be posted, however, I say to friends and loved ones of different beliefs: we are of different beliefs—and I love you, just the same. I hope you feel likewise. ~A.


December 30th, 2010.

Additional Authorial Note:

If I offend you with my truth below . . . .

Fuck off and be gone.

Sincerely—as one could possibly be,



You’re familiar, I’m sure, with the adage, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” Right?

Fuck. God.

That’s the first time in my life I’ve ever felt comfortable—in fact, a rapturous joy—saying that. That I might not be smote or blindsided by misfortune once more, guilty of some blaspheming treason. Always youthful, innocent or stupid verbal accidents in the past—angry blunders for which I immediately, profusely apologized.

Now, quite intentional—and unapologetic.

You’re God. Damn. Right.

Because really, were I to be struck down by some calamity or disaster…who gives a holy fuck? I mean, at this point, The Twelve Days of Christmas are just an accrual of more catastrophe, anyway. What the fuck. Do I fucking care. Anymore?

I don’t.

Because, apparently, the lightning crashes irrespective of guilt. God gives not one shit whether you missed Sunday school to stay home and play with your Big Bro, cousins, build Lego cities and listen to Cyndi Lauper on cassette. He’s indifferent to your collegiate gluttony, your bacchanalian revelry, imbibing alcohol to the point of stupor, blackout. He pays no mind to your sinful lust outside of marriage—your careless, wanton premarital carnal acts.

Lest we forget, dear flock, the countless, innumerable acts of reckless, naïve youth. Lest we forget the countless, fucking unspoken Others who served as the Almighty hands of retribution for that wickedest of all sins...


He only concerns himself with the aftermath; the punishment due these transgressions.

There. is. no. fucking. GOD.

Even if there is, I’ll go into his sweet hereafter on his judgment day, look him deadly into his dead eye with a spirit full of spite and a mouthful of rage and I will spit in the bastard’s face.

Then I will turn on him as he has on me time and countless time after again, walk out of his Eden without even the slightest nudge of desire for a look back and reclaim my seat in Hell.

It’s warm there—because the sun never sets. Like the son, it also rises, ascends, rolls away from the horizon—away from Earth—like a miraculous boulder.

Just before I descend from sight, God remembers me and stiffens into a terrified pillar I wept sky-scraping lengths, now dried Dead Sea salt.


There’s a lawn-mower cutting a suburban yard in the distance, across the street. Some designated square of grass, somebody’s property, pride, hard work though today a chore, a grumble, a pain-in-the-ass.

The sound of tractors is the sound of heaven—as close as I’ll ever get to associating any music to the realm of the angels, the holy. Grass is sanctified: roll in its soft spring, smell it fresh-cut and listen as Mommy mows the top-acre by the swing-set, the fence-line at the top of the hill—“the only hill in Wisconsin!” Daddy always says, even though there’s another one right across the street. Watch Freddie play Legos below, downhill on the patio, Flopsy sniffing interested his Star Wars crater plate space station. Sip butterflies into my tummy from my little red cup with the cool, clean knowledge that Daddy will come home from the hospital soon, smelling of Speed Stick and Wrigley’s Spearmint, arms open for his Sweet-Pea hug.

And the way the green of it, the grass catches the summer sun and plays, throws it back to you, well, you can just lie there propped up on your elbows for hours, legs kicked crossed at the ankles behind you, above your head, toeing for the clouds, running heaven’s assured lengths barefoot, bouncing the light back and forth, blades to you and back again, tapping chubby fingers over their slight yet resilient tips. Every so often, there’s the interruption of a dandelion and oh, how you love those breaks in the verdant banter, adore those gossamer pauses! They whisper their interventions! You rise to greet them, bow reverent and while low in deference, pluck juicy their stem and they roll a clean tear of wistfulness—of I missed you!—down your pink thumb as you draw them close, cradle them baby-doll below your button-nose, alight their sweet-pea breath—their exhalations of Hello, Beautiful Girl!—in fragile rolls across the bowtie of your mouth—a conversation!—many minutes-long before, finally, with lashes drawn thick in tender goodnight—in genuine, desperate sadness—you sigh a secret farewell still unshared with another soul to the only friend you had in that insular, emerald world—you blow them a final motherly kiss Goodbye! Goodbye! I love you! Goodbye!

A cotton-trail caught delicate in the sweet summer air, Mommy’s fresh-cut green wind tickling the smooth rise, the naked tops of your innocent feet, yellow gingham breezes hemming sweetheart your sundress, blowing clear blue northern sky against your upturned face—the roundness of your cherub cheeks exposed to the sun shining celestial from a northern summer sky, baby-fine hair pulled pony-tail darling atop the roundness of your head, the roundness of your upturned face, cherub cheeks, exposed to the roundness of a kindly, smiling summer sun, wasting westerly in the memory of a northern celestial sky.

“That’s the sound of pulling heaven down.”

That’s an ode to joy.

That’s the diaphanous requiem of fallen angels raining dead.

That’s a dirge written upon the flights of dandelion wishes.

That’s the canticle owed Lilith.

That’s the passion due this twelfth station of a burned cross.

That’s the noise of scraping the ceiling of sky trying to reach the blue of your eyes.

That’s the music of tractors.


If there was a God, I’d pound him, beat his chest with the meat of my fists until my body gave out, gave up, until I had just enough breath left to ask:

Why would you ever take heaven away from a child…then freely gift her with Hell?

Why would you take from her bowtie lips a cup full of butterflies?

"Words and pictures can work together to communicate more powerfully than either alone." ~William Albert Allard

"Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be." ~Duane Michals

"A photograph is usually looked at—seldom looked into." ~Ansel Adams