“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977
The words blur in front of me on the computer screen. My eyes squint - helps but doesn’t solve the problem. Frustrated, I shove my glasses up on my head and massage my temple between thumb and index finger with one hand and absently tug at my earring with the other.
What am I doing wrong? Why do this to yourself, it’s a word – ease up already.
Today’s tough, grueling even. I miss the creative aspect of my writing. Every fiber in me rebels against revising any more grammar mistakes, dialogue tags, or cropping yet another sentence.
I knock on my forehead with a closed fist. This is close but not what you had in mind is it? You know the word you need is right at the tip of your tongue. I knock against my forehead again for good measure in an attempt to shake inspiration from an overworked brain. Aggravated my notes are sent flying off the desk helter skelter.
One lone page floats in the air caught in an invisible draft and dances across the room to land near Pickles’ paws. She stomps the errant page flat and looks up at me questioning if this is a new game. I highlight the inappropriate word, slam my laptop shut, and slip out of the chair like a slinky into a muddled mess on the floor to crawl about picking up stray notes; checking as I go to see if my missing muse is somewhere in the mess. It is and Pickles is standing on it.
You could have done anything, anything at all, but YOU chose to write - something which takes months, years to master with little or no payout to show for all your work. In an ordinary job that would be akin to your boss criticizing everything you worked on in the past year and ordering you to redo the job without reimbursement for your time.
The days flow in like fashion until Saturday’s warmth teases my body into the car and the open road. No words, no laptop, and no manuscript. Doesn’t mean the inn in my head wasn’t overflowing with a no-vacancy sign in the window of my eyes. Johnny Cash is booming from the CD player. Vibrations echo through the car and lyrics heard in another lifetime fill the space between. The sky is a monster creep gray. Storm clouds threaten to pour hell down in buckets.
Wind gust fail to maneuver the car off the road. Out of the corner of my eye pine trees lift their boughs and sway in a multitude of wings ready to take flight. Fresh air creeps up my nostrils with the scent of Earth and wet grass from the open window. And for the first time in over a week I smile. Yes, the work is hard and some day’s words are even harder to come by…but that’s all right – I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Do what you love, and you will find a way to get it out to the world.” – Judy Collins.