Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Words like pebbles

This morning I took a walk. It was very cold. An early nor'easter on the way. It's now snowing. It's supposed to get pretty windy, so I've filled water containers in case the power goes out. We're on a well. No electricity = no pump = no running water. It's been a week since our power came back on after Sandy. Many are still without. I think about all the people who have lost so much and feel guilty about my own concerns. So frivolous.

Today while I was walking, I was thinking about my motivations for writing. Writing anything. A poem. A story. Those novels that I should be working on. Journaling (which I've been good at avoiding in the past few years). Blog posts. Letters. Emails. IMs. Even notes to myself (those fucking to-do lists).

I write to communicate what draws my attention, what makes me think, what makes my heart swell with joy, or collapse in hurt.

The way milkweed fluff trembles in the softest of breezes. The way breeze feels on my bare skin. The way bare branches look against the skyline. A hawk's cry. Lichen on rock. Moss. The crunch of leaves underfoot in the woods. The taste of a wild berry, a bowl of ice cream, a piece of chocolate, my beloved mochas. Hmm. Those are all sweet. Also mushrooms sautéed in butter, a perfect baked potato, steamed lobster, steak tartare, oh the list could go on and on. Red wine, champagne, mead. Long-loved songs, the music that made my younger years bearable. Live music, of any kind, be it in a concert hall or a subway station. Toe-tapping. Dancing. Singing in my car (about the only place it happens). Driving. My inner trucker. Going places. Those places. The memories they evoke. Watching my mother paint sycamores along the Wissahickon or old buildings on the steep streets of Manayunk. Picking up pebbles and driftwood on Pacific coast beaches. The world flying past from windows of cars, school buses, trains, planes. All the many roads, paved/dirt/gravel, that I have walked. How many miles? And the people. Oh, the people. The sight of them, the sound of them, the smell, the touch. This is when my heart swells and collapses at the same time. And I have to stop typing to wipe my eyes.

I write to communicate, but sometimes my words go unread; the letter tucked inside a card returned to sender, the poem tucked away in it's digital cupboard, the story unfinished because I'm afraid to finish it. Sometimes I don't know if my words are read or not. Just because I send them out doesn't mean they land anywhere. And then there is the childish need for acknowledgement. My downfall for sure. I hate that I need that so badly, that "yes dear that's nice." All too often I don't even write what I want to because it almost seems a waste to put the energy into the words when I'm afraid what they're trying to communicate won't result in ...

the return of that communication. So, what am I doing? Writing this on an old blog, started almost a decade ago, and ignored for many years. Not knowing if I'll even share it with anyone. I know so many writers. I recognize myself in their words. And I wonder, how do they keep doing it? At least the ones that keep doing it. Some I have known have stopped. Given up. Yes, Terry, I'm thinking about you this November. It's been almost four years. Four years! And still these tears.

I don't let go easily. I save words like pretty stones. I turn them over and over, feel their heft. Smooth or rough, they are all beautiful.

So why this fear?