Some days when I think about writing poetry, the right words hide behind clouds, and the phrases sound like children’s songs… very sad, awkward, nursery rhymes… and so, I pick up my pen and write a letter, or pick up my paintbrush and dabble in color, or I cover my head with a blanket, and read a fairy-tale that sounds like …a thousand, awkward, sad nursery rhymes.
Some days, when I want to write memoir, I worry that my life is too boring. I can’t think of anything good to say, and I can’t complain, because life is okay. I think about the past year, and the road ahead, and today looks so much like a hundred before, that I am bored. Thankful, but not really living a life I’d want to read about.
Some days I just focus on Facebook, and catching up on the shows that fill my DVR, and folding laundry, or washing the same dozen dishes, again… and again… and again. Sometimes the real poem, the real story is going on under the surface, behind the scenes. Sometimes it looks blurry, and I can’t find my glasses, and I don’t really know how to tell it anyway. Even now, as I type those words, Emily Dickinson’s “Tell all the truth but tell it slant —” slides across the backs of my eyes like a ticker-tape.
The truth is, I’ve been stacking writer’s blocks.
The ink in my veins is sitting patiently, while I stare out of the window, and wonder where the muse went. She is here, too. Waiting for me, to pick up my pen and “keep your hand moving” like Natalie Goldberg taught me. I know the answer is in this simple movement… this reflex gesture that has become my auto-response to life… until it isn’t.
They say it takes two and a half years to get over the death of a five-year relationship. I’m thirteen months in, and I just want to take off this heaviness, like a winter coat, toss it onto the floor, and stand in the sun.
But baby, it’s still cold outside.
I’ve been afraid to break open my heart, and spill its contents onto the page, because I’m tired of finding the same, dry, tired grief inside. So I’ve been stealing masking tape, and twine, sealing wax and chewing gum, I’ve been sealing up the edges and binding up the seams so that nothing can escape. Still I’ve been smart enough to pour in good poetry, great fiction, hopes and dreams and watercolor paintings. I know how my heart works.
While the ink waits, I feed it, with these things. So when my courage finds the right crack, The language will be there to push the ink out.
Today, I’ll just go through the motions, and hope.
One thought on “Telling Myself the Truth”
I think as far as worrying that people would not want to read your memoir because there are “boring” parts, I think that is what makes you relatable. You can write beautiful lyrical poetry but also raw, honest thoughts of where you are at, good and bad, and it’s the totality of you as a person, both the pleasure and the pain, that makes reading your site so interesting. We all have the routine stuff and smiles on our faces hiding our pain and secret wishes.
I’m sorry you are still grieving your previous relationship and hope that pain does not prevent you from finding joy with others. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was an “off” switch for those heartbreaks?
Go gently on yourself. Frida Kahlo once said, “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” I think great art as well as writing comes from finding a way to express the extraordinary as well as the mundane. At any rate, you are never boring. Hope you get to feeling less depressed. The holidays can be rough.
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