“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” Edgar Allan Poe
I lost track of how long the stare contest had been going on. Liquid charcoal eyes stared unblinking into mine. Occasionally her eyebrow would arch knowingly. In jest, I threw up my hands. No hair off her brow, of course the blind dog won the stare contest, which started with me asking her what I should write. Shrugs; She’s my muse and no she doesn't play fair, but I get lost in those eyes where a world of wonder takes place – enough to clear my mind and shift gears.
Pickles cocks her head slightly still with that sarcastic eyebrow arch and grins like a lunatic.
“Knock it off you maniac, you still haven’t answered the question.” I scold playfully, while thumbing through a notebook of miscellaneous thought vomit I had written.
Words are like this secret elixir only I can partake of – my personal stash.
When was the last time writing felt like that? I wondered. Pickles continues to stare at me, waiting like a hungry vulture for me to answer my own dilemma. “Want to hear a story on how I lost my words? I ask. Those long toes of hers resemble monkey paws as they curl around my knee in answer. I pat the couch beside me and wait for her to get comfortable.
“Once upon a time (because all our earlier stories start that way), a woman had piles of words emulating every emotion she had ever experienced in handwritten journals, typed pages, and scraps of whatever was handy when the words overtook her. Words bandaged pain, soothed sorrow, and built bridges to hope and dreams. Then one day a horrible man shredded all her words and left her with a sea of mulched batting in its place.”
Pickles buries her nose beneath my elbow as I continue, “The woman swore off words and buried their likeness so deep within she forgot where she hid them. Years and years would go by while the words pushed and shoved against her breastbone, vying to escape. They wrapped around her heart becoming a fist full of memories squeezed dry. Until her psyche began to rot intellect like a rusted hinge exposed too long to the elements.” At this point in my storytelling, I glance at Pickles with her nose tucked between her paws as if to hide from a scary scene in a movie.
“The pile of words inside the woman grew and grew, threatening to engorge her lungs until she couldn’t breathe. Still she strangled the words and swallowed them deep to rot in her gut, until she became a numb caricature of a human being. Then one day, along came a pup, a pushy creature with a pickled attitude who demanded to be heard, just like the words she once knew.”
A wet nose nudges my elbow, encouraging me to go on. “Slowly but surely, the woman learned to purge the words which had been buried for so very long in the depths of her psyche and heart. For the first time in a long time, she could breathe. The woman realized she had never truly lost the words; they had been the driving force within her all along. Not unlike her dog, she wanted to be heard.”
I wink at Pickles and whisper, “The End.”
I remember fanatical sessions of writing for hours on end, to the point of a losing a year and a half in the creation of my books. Lately I’ve been wondering where that obsessive writer disappeared to. With no doubt, words still flow in their own stream of consciousness from my fingertips; although, nothing like those first few years of discovering my lost cache inside. Are my goals as a writer still something I am capable of accomplishing? More than ever…
I’ve learned something along the way though, obsession kills dreams. If you become so obsessed you forget to live or to enjoy the small moments in life, you’re strangling any hope of fulfilling those dreams. Everything in life needs time to develop to its full potential. In my case, my writing needed days to breathe, time to marinate into something credible. Besides, I still need those stare sessions with my perquisite pup (even though she cheats).
I’m not saying give up by any means, what I am saying (more so for me) is enjoy the journey. Don’t overwhelm yourself and lose touch with the enchanting beauty of why or when your dreams first began to hold sway over you.
“All we see or seem is, but a dream within a dream.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe