Monday, July 21, 2008

Fiction depiction 2

This won't surprise you, but I have pretty turbulent relationship with writing. When I'm in a dry spell I feel like a spurned lover (even though it's my own fault for not sitting down and just writing) and when I'm in a time of abundance it's as though I can't stop. I'm forever seeking that happy medium, the place where I write some every day but don't always end up drunk or destitute. 

I wrote this a long time ago, trying to understand my own relationship with writing. She isn't me, but she could be. This is somewhat unfinished, perhaps, but I still like it.


Tsunami Words

The words, when they came were like a tsunami. They swept her away and she had no choice but to be drowned. It was as though language became a force of nature and she wrote with a ferocity that could be measured in storm force. Everything else was inconsequential in front of their power. Answering the phone, the needs of loved ones were nothing to be noted. The demands of the body – eating, excreting, sleeping – were deep inconveniences, the pitiful cries of those who couldn’t swim in the waves. And she wrote in torrents, loving each word as it poured out of her.

As she wrote she muttered, paced, laughed, as though her body itself became the storm, wrenched back and forth, a lifeboat in the storm and she was eager to be drowned. As each wave rose and relented she found herself surrounded with more wreckage – unwashed dishes, ignored children, frustrated friends, but none of that mattered, because the words were there and she felt free. It was as though she was the white cap atop each great wave and she could see forever.

But when it stopped suddenly she was left adrift on the desert ocean, surrounded by salt water she could not drink, fish she could not eat. When the words would not come she starved amidst riches. She longed for the tsunami to come again, even though she knew it brought devastation.

She tried to trick the words into coming, tried to lure them closer. She would read good writing, as though trying to convince her own words to come back. “See? You would have friends, just come back.” When that didn’t work she’d put out lures, scraps of unfinished writing, as though language might become frustrated with the possibilities and sneak in, finishing the unwritten poems by itself. And as a last resort, when all else failed, she would pretend she didn’t care, would watch television and ignore the voices inside that told her she could do better.

She would wash the dishes, pick up the wreckage left by the waves, and all the while plan for their return.

Books were her altars, the more there were the greater the likelihood the words would return. She knew there was a chance she’d become a madwoman, the kind who’s home was full of items with ritualistic meaning lost when she died, but this was a risk she could take on the chance the words would come back.

Each word had it’s own particular nature, and in combination they had their own power, personality and needs. They needed to be wooed carefully. Some were brash and relentless, would haunt her dreams like old boyfriends who still showed up unwanted, while others were elusive and shy, wild things that ran at the slightest crack of a branch. She longed for them all when the storms were gone and wished they would at least send a postcard.

(c) 2008 Laura S. Packer
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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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