Saturday, March 5, 2011

Working Toward a Life

“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

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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.

45 comments:

  1. Awww Indigo you must smile more often. In spite of your work or lack of it, it will make you feel better. You are a beautiful person.

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  2. "a slinky into a muddled mess on the floor to crawl about picking up stray notes" that was wonderful. I enjoy your writing; I have no gift for writing and no control of words; let alone a gift of gab. I step back in wonderment of such gifted people who can pen such wonderful thoughts and prose with pen or pencil. Oh, to be a writer; but, sounds kinda painful at times

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  3. Love the images you conjured up there, and I sympathise with the protagonist.

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  4. Ever write 30,000 words then delete every one of them at the same time without a second thought? God damn that is a liberating feeling and cheaper than gas and easier on the mind too. I liked your faux diatribe here Indigo, you really wouldn't have yourself doing anything else now would you.

    Just remember the bumper stickers for writers is

    "I am a writer, I am literate and frustrated,don't make me kill your character off!"

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  5. when my kids get stuck at work i tell them that's why writing is a process. it's not math where you solve and move on to something else- it's never really done.

    be well- spring is on the way!

    xxalainaxx

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  6. I love your writing also! The way you word things is amazing! So glad you took a break & found your beautiful smile!

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  7. I love that header photo. Somedays work is a chore, even if you love it. I think you have the answer...a change of scenery, a breeze to clear the cobwebs.

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  8. This is absolutely true. In the middle of last week when things were so up in the air, I had a meltdown.

    I asked my husband "Why can't anything just be easy?"

    He said "Because then it wouldn't be as worthwhile."

    He's so smart. :)

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  9. Thanks, Indigo. Monster creep grey! Liked that.

    Cats are unerring, aren't they? They always know what's most important to you just then, and if they can, they take control of it. Clever things.

    Thanks for sharing - and talk to you later -
    Peter

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  10. I also get so frustrated when I know there is a particular word I want and I can't quite nail it down. Sometimes you need to just step away and come back to it. I hope your time away served to clear the cobwebs! {{hugs}}

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  11. Open road with cash blasting, what a wonderful thing :o)

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  12. I have to say I agree with Miriam's comment. If it was easy it wouldn't be worthwhile. Hang in there!!!!!!

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  13. I needed to read that today, thanks for the encouragement. I'm always happy to return the favor

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  14. There is no greater gift in life than doing what you love. If it was easy we would all be doing it.
    Lisa

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  15. to get out and away from it is the best way to find it again - or it finds you.

    you and johnny cash and vibrations - wonderful kickass imagery! i see you.

    xo
    erin

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  16. With the images you create and the strength of your words, there is a 0% chance of you not getting published! :)

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  17. Great picture.

    I think we all get those "What am I doing? Why am I doing this?" moments. All we can do is wait for it to pass, like a nasty cold. :)

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  18. It can be very frustrating and you can be your own worst critic. I have found that others enjoy my writing but very very little of it do I consider any good at all. I am sure it will be well written. :))

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  19. Just a hug from me today, Indigo.

    ((Indigo))

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  20. Writer's Block is terrible. Wishing you well.
    xx
    Russ

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  21. Writing can be so frustrating sometimes...when I get that angsty (where choosing even one word is too challenging), I take a break. It helps to create some distance, and with it, a new perspective that gets the words flowing again.

    Great post!

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  22. You write out your frustration beautifully. :)

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  23. Even when you're describing your frustration with writing, your natural writing ability shines through. It isn't easy to put feelings into words, but you do it. Poetry posing as prose. Amazing. And yes, you DO seem to find that perfect word you're looking for. In due time. Never give up, Indigo.

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  24. Indigo, your entries are always appreciated..glad you found your smile..
    Sheri

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  25. ahhh that open road:)..fresh air always re-invigorates me. perhaps it will clear your mind so you may find that perfect word...it will come out of nowhere...hang in there..hugz!

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  26. Even in your frustrations you write with more eloquence than I ever manage purposely.

    I want you to know that you had me with the Richard Wright quote. That is MY MAN... I kid you not! Reading 'The Outsider' was like a peek into the future when I was a kid..!

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  27. You know how much I love your writing. This post spoke to me. So beautiful and true. Thanks for sharing the frustrations most of us feel often. :)

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  28. Choosing to write, something I can't get my husband to understand. I think I need to go somewhere and shake the cobwebs out of my mind.

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  29. Wise words from Ms. Collins.

    I definitely find some parts of writing, such as editing and revising, to be a little soul-sucking on occasion.

    Hang in there!

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  30. "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."

    I love this.

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  31. You are definitely an amazing writer. No two ways about it. It is a hard job, dredging through emotion after emotion, word after word. Sometimes it is a painful process. I am so with you there. But when you see the light, it's worth every minute of it.

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  32. Thanks for following my blog. You are an excellent writer. Just reading this entry on how you struggle to revise was wonderful. Your dog pickles is cute too.

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  33. You are such a wonder, with Johnny Cash on CD and Pickles on your paper, and beauty conducted from your brain to your fingertips. This post had great spirit.

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  34. You're one of the people I feel privileged to have met on-line, Indigo. I hope your muse will have rejoined you since this post.

    Guido

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  35. Oh, I am there right now. I'm at the point where I don't even want to look at the stupid Microsoft Word icon on my desktop, the point where every fucking word I have written so far disgusts me. Ugh.

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  36. Gosh If this is what you do with frustration - I know I must be a hack! None of the words I use to describe moments like that are really printable - and I promise they would not be this much fun to read! Thanks for sharing your bad day and I loved Your description of the David Altala character! I adore the whole hopeless love thing!

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  37. Wow. That is so beautiful Indigo! And so true. Thanks for the reminder. =)

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  38. Beautiful post! You are pursuing your dream with all the ups and downs and sideways twists.

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  39. Writing is quite difficult but rewarding. I think prose is twice more difficult than poetry.

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  40. Do I have a quote for you (one that fits both of us perfectly): "After all this time, it seems to me like straight and fast is the only way out- but I choose the labyrinth. The labyrinth blows, but I choose it." - John Green

    I think we both choose the hard way, knowing it's the only one that really pays off in the end, but sometimes, when we're in the middle of it all, we ask ourselves why we choose the hard paths.

    And the answer is, as it always is: because that's who we are.

    Keep smiling, hon. You'll crack this thing.

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  41. I don't know if I could write through the 'silence'. I use music to steer me to my Muse - I don't know WHAT I would do if I had no music to set my mood. I have nothing but respect and admiration for someone who can write in the 'silence' - whose only sound heard is the voice in her head.

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  42. You writing is beautiful.
    Loved this post

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  43. I knew when I say your arrestingly
    beautiful picture your words would
    be equal to the task of your face.

    Your descriptions I. make nature
    come alive in my mind and your
    emotions become a gift you give
    to your readers.

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Thank you for giving my silence a voice, my muse your words, and taking the time to discover my prose.