And Then

Writing has been difficult for me these past few months. Some of the difficulty due to physical exhaustion. Some due to creative fatigue. I write all day at the office (or the toy factory as I like to call it.) Because all the buttons and switches in the bellies of plushes have to make noise and the guitar strummer has to play its wayward strum.

There are songs and rhymes and character phrases that must turn into complicated logic scripts accounting for how a child might play with an electronic toy. It’s a strange brain muscle, this way of, first, thinking like a child and, then, translating that to technical language.  It’s whimsy that’s slammed and pattied and pancaked into a task list of logical thought. First this, then this, and never it’s reverse. And this only if that with exception of the other.

Sometimes I return home to an empty page and I don’t remember how to arrange language. I don’t remember my voice because of all the yammering character voices in my ear that other people have created. I’ve had to please a chorus of voices to make a chorus of voices. 
And then I have to listen to my own inner chorus. One that is often unkind.
I have goals. An essay. The missing piece of a short story. A great, vast 10,000 word beginning to a novel I’ve dreamed into an angry ghost. 
The biggest fear, these days, is placing anything in print, however temporary, that is playful or experimental or just plain bad. It’s putting down words without wondering who they will please and deciding they will please no one before I whisper them away.  
There’s the tiny matter of a room I used to write in. A room that is no longer mine because it belongs to the little one kicking and flipping around inside me. There’s a little white, banged up desk that had the scratch and stamp and peel of graduate school papers and film and literature analyses, dozens of short stories, four terrible screenplays, and three novels, that had to be given away, because there is no place for it. A desk that sits in the apartment of the new tenants downstairs as a reminder of what is just slightly, strangely out of reach.

It’s the beginning of November and the temperature cools and the leaves finally turn fire against a ice blue sky. So I’m trying to remember where I write, how I write, and who I write for. 
I remember a time when I only wrote for myself and no one else, in my very own bedroom, on the fluff gray rug that lost its slack, inside spiral bound notebooks that bended at the foot of a closed door. 
I remember writing for hours. I remember how the sentences river-flowed from my heart to the page in just one order, the way a breathless child tells a story: and then, and then, and then
I want to get back there. 
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9 thoughts on “And Then

  1. Oh, Melissa, this is beautifully written – you've still got it! I know what you are saying, about finding the time, of making that space, of exhaustion when you've given most of your energy away. You will find your muse again. Keep writing. It will come. The struggle is what makes it so great. And I do believe that baby will come and give you more ideas than you ever thought possible…more everything 🙂

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  2. “I remember a time when I only wrote for myself and no one else, in my very own bedroom, on the fluff gray rug that lost its slack, inside spiral bound notebooks that bended at the foot of a closed door.

    I remember writing for hours. I remember how the sentences river-flowed from my heart to the page in just one order, the way a breathless child tells a story: and then, and then, and then…

    I want to get back there.”

    AMEN!!!! I just drafted a post on my trouble with writing, and then read this and it's everything in my mind that I can't say nearly as eloquently as you. Hope you're well, friend!

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  3. You say it all so perfectly. I'm doing NaNo, but this is exactly how I feel! I've been revising for so long, can I really write something good from scratch? And I want to get back there too. That joy of creation is hard to find. So I write my allotted 1667 words per day, and I know they are all terrible and that I will probably not use any of this terribleness . . . but it's getting me to write. Getting me to put words on the page, and each day it's a little easier than the last.

    I hope you get back to that place soon, because I want to read your work! 🙂

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  4. Melissa, don't be too hard on yourself!

    The only time in my life — from childhood until now — that I DIDN'T write was when I was pregnant and when I had small children. At that time in my life, I still had creative energy, but I ended up channeling it a different way. I made scrapbooks.

    There's a whole shelf of Creative Memories scrapbooks in my house. They cover several years of our lives. My daughters enjoy them. Occasionally, they ask, “Why did you stop doing these?”

    And I answer: “I started writing again.”

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  5. I agree with the other people commenting you still have 'it' with writing, this post only proves the point. However, I do identify with what you are going through. There have been some changes in my life, which have put my writing on hold. It's only now, that I´m thinking of going back to it and there is doubt whether or not I will be able to write again. Hopefully some of these comments will spur you on to write more. You can do it!

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  6. You have never lost it, Melissa … you just aren't hearing it yourself. Writing is not to please others, but to express oneself … and if others happen to like what you write, it is a bonus.

    Believe in your unwritten ideas within, as you believe in your little one in there, too.

    And CONGRATULATIONS!. I have been off blog for so long that i missed out on that!!

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