Finding words

Today, as I have for many days, I sit trying to write and no words are coming.  I can’t settle on what I think, what I want to say.  There’s so much and there is nothing, all at once.

So, I say nothing.  I do nothing.  Instead, I try to play along to the rhythms of the lives of the people around me and try to let their hope and happiness infiltrate my heart.

I go to church and sing with other believers, “Heal my heart and make it clean, open up my eyes to the things unseen…”  And this becomes my prayer.

I take communion sitting between two of my girlfriends, and I live into the reality that we are doing this together as part of the community of faith.

I ride home sitting in the backseat with the niece-in-love, and she smiles and squawks at me and I smile and squawk back.

And playing along is working, I realize.  Hope and happiness are infiltrating my heart.

And it’s giving me words.  Not a lot, but some.

And that’s more than I had yesterday.

And more will come.


4 thoughts on “Finding words

  1. If words are tricky to come by, i usually start with one absurd sentence. Or idea. The mind has a way of trying to rationalise it, integrate it, build something logical around it. The stuff you really want to say finds its way out in the end.

  2. I found Anne Lamott’s post on Facebook today to be particularly appropriate. I hope it inspires and challenges you as it did me:

    “A typical Sunday morning: my associate and I are up early. I read the Times, Jax plays with Legos for an hour. (Jax said last Sunday that the NY Times is the World painting pictures with the alphabet, to show to Nana.) Then we fight over who gets the TV. I almost always eventually prevail and get to watch Meet the Press, because I weigh 100 pounds. But guess who is on MTP? The incomparable Donald Rumsfeld! Divine intervention.

    So we turned off the TV and went outside for an owl Prowl. We’ve been having owl prowls since he could walk, and have never once seen an owl, but we often run into a pal who can imitate several owls, which is just as good. Jax rides his bike; I think my thinky thoughts.

    Today I was thinking how high my hopes had been last Sunday for a great writing week. Then I ended up at a funeral, then had a very long, extremely stressful but fun interview. Then I had to go to LA for two days, which meant that my traffic needs have been met for at least the next sixty days. So, no writing.

    But you know what? This is all bullshit, to use the theological term. You just do it. Period. You grab an hour here, 45 minutes there. You steal Wednesday morning back. You write on the plane. No one is making you do it; no one cares if you write. So you’d damn well better.

    Last night I saw a great play by the 90 year old playwright Ann Brebner. She wrote AND directed it. It was stunning. She was at my house for Sam’s birthday two years ago, and shared with us the very first vision of what would become the play we saw last night. This was all she had to go on–one vision. She sat down almost every day for a year, with commitment and discipline, the only path to artistic freedom. She just did it.

    She wrote no matter whether or not she was in the mood, or whether she had good excuses to get out of that day’s writing, or whether she had physical and creative energy that day. (Although let’s not make too big a deal of this, as she was still a spring chicken at that point–only 88 years old. So not really that big a deal.)

    She wrote a shitty first draft; then she took out a lot of stuff out, because half of creativity is taking stuff out. She pulled it into a 2nd draft, and a 3rd. Then colleagues critiqued it and made suggestions, some of which she took, and she created a gorgeous, magical play.

    On our owl prowl this morning, I savored the play’s most inspired moments, the four fine actors, the astonished audience, and Ann’s shy, proud face. This is how I want to be when I grow up–a working writer! It’s a great honor, to be one of the artists or story tellers for the culture, like getting one of the 5 golden tickets in Willy Wonka. Don’t squander it. We get to start our new 24 hours as soon as we remember to. We get to stop hitting the snooze button. So I’m back in the saddle–got a pen and an index card in my back pocket, and one corner of a vision, all my own. And that’s all it takes.”

    Here’s hoping you find one corner of a vision, all your own, Amber. Blessings, sister.

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