February 4th, 2007

cocked and loaded


Sometimes, especially when I'm in the middle of reading a book where the writing just blows me away, where every word seems so perfectly chosen and polished and dovetailed to a plumb with all the other words, in a way that I wouldn't have thought to use it, in a way that is so fresh and so right that it nearly makes my hair stand on end, then I can't imagine ever writing again myself. How could I?

It's not that I think that I have to write as perfectly as some of the writers I admire most, or even some that sporadically mine the depths of perfection and only come up with the occasional gem, it's that all my will and adoration goes spilling out and it feels as though I have nothing to give because everything I think, everything I come up with, seems tarnished or bruised or, let's face it, SECOND-RATE in comparison, and I have no desire to spill my thoughts across the furrow of the screen and lovingly tend to them only to realize that they're stunted, and will never nourish anyone the way that writer's words nourished me.

Do you write when you think you have nothing to say? Do you find yourself compelled to make some sort of mark on the day...some little notice of "hey! I'm over here!" that reminds the world that you exist, that you are more than what you had for lunch and what chores you crossed off your to-do list today? Does it matter if the writing you release from your brain and from your fumbling fingers is not of the caliber that would make a publishing agent sit up and remove her glasses and peer, awestruck, over your prose with the rising feeling of excitement that O! this is it! I caught one! You're a little fish in a big, big pond and every little fish is bubbling away. What makes you think your bubbles are brighter and glossier than that fish over there? Maybe they're all just full of air.

Posterity is such a fickle mistress.

We suck up to her, like fish, blowing bubbles. I want every word I write to be right. I want every word to make an impression. If I can make you stop and admire the pure air pearls I am forming, what will I have won? A moment of your time, a smile perhaps, empathy. Sympathy when I want it, support when I need it, admiration when I least expect it. A place in the race against time where the bubbles rise to the surface and release each puff of breath and thought with a sigh, a ripple and silence.