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.