Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Word, Please.

There is a lot of really good writing out there. Sometimes, I stumble across something that is just so well written I can't get it out of my mind. The endless ways that people find to describe things with words is one of the reasons I believe that there is more to the Universe than just energy and matter and random events that allow us to evolve. The written word is a miracle. Language is a miracle.

Perhaps because I have not challenged myself to write much recently, I find that my words are leaving me. Every time I sit to write, nothing worth writing comes to the surface. A lack of ideas isn't the issue, I seem to have those all the time and usually at just the point when I can not get them down on paper. My challenge is the words themselves- getting them in order, finding the right ones, remembering how to spell them. What used to be pretty simple, finding the rhythm and flow of words to convey the feeling of a moment or the intensity of a colour or even to just be marginally intelligent about an opinion, is now a quagmire. I struggle with every sentence.

Being a topic of some immediacy, you would think this would be easy to write about, but it is not. I try to touch what swirls in my head and it dissolves, only to be replaced with noise or worry or blankness. The only thing left behind is a hole, like a missing tooth, where the thought used to be and a blanket of mild anxiety that there is something wrong with my mind. Where did my words go? How did they manage to take my creativity with them? How do I get them back when they are just wisps of ghosts carried off in a breeze of unpredictable currents?

When I was younger I could pull words out of the ether. There was never a time when there was no word at the ready, another dozen in my pocket clanking together like loose change waiting to be spent. My words burned to come out onto paper, even when the only paper was a late night diner order slip begged off a waitress hoping for a better tip than the one I would ultimately leave. It was nothing to wake up in the middle of the night with a story formed and ready to go before I had rubbed the sleep from my eyes. Never mind that I wasn't old enough to have anything to write about.

Now, I have so many things I could express. There are decades more experience to draw from, hundreds more people I have met who have given me the beginning of so many tales (cautionary and otherwise). Enough time has passed that many of the things I have done can now be looked at from a compassionate distance and distilled to their essence.

But there are no words. Just pictures in my head.

And they are fading.