Shattering images of a demolished Japan flash across TV. Facebook and Twitter abuzz with Charlie Sheen. The iPad 2 makes a splash. Courtney Love pays for reckless tweets.

Despite all this potential inspiration, I sit here the night before deadline, immobilised with ‘writer’s block’.

It happens. I always remember thinking I’d never be short of a few words. Family and friends don’t get it, often making suggestions. But in my defence, I write for a GLBTI publication, which changes the landscape. Adding an XYU spin, whatever that means, also tightens the reins.

I could probably squeeze more out of Mardi Gras. But that seems like cheating. Religious bigots still hate us. There’s a world of hate and injustice for gay and lesbian youth on a global scale. And yet here I sit, staring into space, like a goldfish with a computer.

And then occasionally, something awesome happens.

I often forget to read comments — which isn’t to say they’re not appreciated. But recently, I received something priceless: a PDF of a letter from a middle-aged woman, who doesn’t want to be published. But simply wanted to let me know that my columns are a highlight of her reading week. She thanked me and had a number of positive, heartfelt words.

I think what struck me most was that in this manic, digital world, the letter was handwritten, and yes, actually posted. In an envelope! You really like me?

Excuse me while I have a Sally Field moment.

I heard somewhere that for every comment, there are 100+ readers thinking the same thing, but probably too apathetic, busy or preoccupied to post their thoughts. Most who comment do so from a negative place. And when it’s often a task to muster up the enthusiasm to ‘like’ something on social media, the fact that this lady took the time to sit down, write a letter, and post it to my editor really blew me away.

Every week, I put more pressure on myself, upping the ante, raising the bar. And no, that wasn’t an attempt at smutty double entendre. Well, this week I drew a blank. And so I’m filling the void with a big thank you to regular readers. I hope I can continue to do whatever it is I do that you seem to enjoy.

And before you know it, there’s my 400 words for this week. Huzzah! Column done.

info: You can also follow Damien Stephens on Twitter: damientweeting

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