The red pen

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My writing has become the focal point in my life.   So much so that I have been consciously willing to share a few of the chapters of the novel I have so carefully crafted with a select few who will unabashedly share their opinion of my writing.  It is a big leap of faith and one I needed to make to get over my fear of rejection.  Turns out, it was (thankfully) much less painful than I anticipated.

A very endearing couple recently checked into the lodge for their third visit.  We were making small talk about how they would spend their week and she gushed about the trilogy she had brought with her to read.  We talked books and authors and I blurted out that I was writing a book.  After giving her a brief outline of the plot, she seemed intrigued.  I took the first step off my cliff of fears when I asked her if she wanted to read some of it.  My second foot followed off the cliff when I actually printed a few pages and timidly handed them to her.

Her excitement completely contrasted my feeling of nausea.  She left with my soul on a few pieces of paper as I sat in my office, slowing curling into the fetal position, wondering what I had just done.

Hours later she came back to the office with a smile on her face that I have yet to define with words.  But what really grabbed and held my attention was the red pen in her hand.  For those who embarked on their scholastic careers before technology took over, the red pen was a symbol of doom and I began a staring contest with the inanimate object.

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Her voice circled around my head as I tried to pull my gaze from that red pen.  A few of her words burrowed into my brain, slowly connecting with the tissue, and my heart almost stopped when I heard “Mel is a retired English teacher”.  It was over.

But then it wasn’t.

After going over a few corrections which made complete sense to me, the red pen no longer felt like a threat and became something else entirely.  They were entertained by the plot.  They enjoyed the phrasing of my sentences and they were captivated enough to want to keep reading.  That red pen was the prophet that delivered the word “love” beside two of the lines that they enjoyed the most.

Somewhere during our conversation, that red pen became the pump that reinflated my confidence.  It didn’t say ‘you failed’.   It screamed ‘keep going’.  Thank you Jean and Mel for the kick in the pants I needed to climb back up the cliff and get ready to take that leap over and over again.

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When words just don’t feel like enough

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I love words.  I devour them like plants absorb the sun for nourishment.  I feed on their ability to convey so many emotions, to give us countless ways to describe the essence of who we are and to capture all the wonderful nuances in life.  Words are simple in their nature but intricate in their distinction.

But sometimes words fail.  There are so many things we want to say, so many emotions we want to share and words just don’t do justice to the feelings we are trying to express.  There have been moments that I have had so many words hovering on the precipice of being spoken aloud but those words seem to pale in comparison to the message I really want to send.

It is not often that words are not my ally.  It is an uncomfortable moment when the things I love seem to leave me when I most need them.  Where once was a plethora of idioms, a bottomless chasm of silence resides.  My inability to use words to their potential precludes me from saying the precise thing I want to say.

But those words are sometimes delivered even though they are unspoken.  Those muted messages find their way through the silence and are easily understood as they soundlessly fall on the ears intended to hear them.

As as writer, I rely on words to accurately convey how I am feeling.  I use those words to express myself.  But sometimes I forget that the words I don’t say, the words that are felt and not heard, are just as loud as the ones I speak.

 

 

 

Nothing compares to u, v, w, x……

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It’s been seven hours and fifteen days……okay, that may be a slight exaggeration (and a very cheesy song reference) but it feels pretty close to the truth that I have just faced.  I looked at my blog posts for the last 27 days and I have posted 6, a measly 6, blog posts during this 27 day period.  I have never been this bereft of creativity since I began my blogging journey.

And once those two words settled into my brain, I felt the familiar pull I feel when I write.  Calling it a blogging journey doesn’t really do it justice.  It doesn’t truly encompass the creative path that I have carved for myself since I became a member of the WordPress writing community.  In this world, I have discovered many who share my passion and I have uncovered a deep part of myself that was grossly underutilized.

We all find things that give us a sense of freedom, moments that we can savor the state of true abandon from reality.  Writing gives me that indulgence.  It permits me to leave the rest of the world behind and go where the words take me.  Nothing does compare to the pleasure I get when I tune out my inner critic and just let the words say what they want to say.  Writing is the one thing in my life that I not only give complete freedom to but also allow it honesty without the constraints of censorship.

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And although I know considerable chunks of time have seeped into the cracks and pushed the chasms of my imaginative spurts further apart, I continually stand on the precipice of inspiration, ready to seize any opportunity that the writing Gods see fit to send my way.

 

 

 

The first to break eye contact

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I stared at the beast.

It gazed back at me,

its eyes filled with the same intensity.

It hummed with a quiet curiosity

as I pondered over the best approach.

We both remained reticent,

neither willing to concede a loss

in the staring contest in which we had become engaged.

We both sat,

watchful of each other,

waiting for the other to make the first move,

until the warmth of my skin

finally touched its cold, hard surface.

The keys began to move under my fingers

and the writing process began again.

In lieu of flowers

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It is with deep regret and great sadness that I announce the passing of the hamster who used to power the wheel of thoughts in my head.  Jack died peacefully on his wheel on Sunday, June 12th at 3:15 pm in his 36th year.

Jack loved all things related to language and words.  He excelled at creating just the right nuance in a sentence so it sounded interesting without being too wordy.  He spent many hours pouring over his thesaurus to make a phrase engaging, yet comprehensible.

Jack began gnawing on his writing chops at a young age.  He dabbled in poetry and short stories and had recently begun his foray into writing a novel.  His passion for words led him to blogging and he relished the forum that allowed him complete freedom for his creative compulsion.  He was a fanatic about grammatical correctness, loved to build a story from beginning to end and thrilled in plotting twists and turns that a reader may not have anticipated.

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Jack leaves behind an empty wheel, a collection of Dean Koontz novels and a battered Underwood typewriter on which he had hoped to use to type his way into becoming a prolific Canadian author.

Expressions of sympathy can be sent to the comments section of this blog.  R.I.P. Jack – we had a good thing going for a while.

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Freedom of expression

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I have recently spent many hours contemplating the amount of time I have endured over the course of my life encapsulated within the concrete vault of hospital walls, entombed in the casing of dry-walled office partitions and shrouded by the protection of the walls of my home.  And although I would never described the feeling as being trapped, there is always a moment or two of feeling somewhat ensnared by the constraints of my life.  The only thing that gave me true escape from those walls was writing.

There are no confines and no limitations when it comes to imagination.  There are no barriers that trap thoughts in one place.  Writing gives the freedom to be outside of my reality and float above my world, if only for a while.

Writing allows me to purvey thoughts and feelings that beg to be unleashed and creates a world of whimsical words.  Some of those words are uplifting and some are deeply scarred with truth.  Regardless of how the words spill onto the page, the combination of those letters help to break down the barricades of real life and create a portal into inspiration and thought.  The hard outer shell of my existence crumbles and that gravel paves the road for my creative journey.

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No one avenue will ever be the same.  Each artery of language will have its own unique characteristics and each of us is drawn through a different vein of creativity.   Writing, for me, is freedom and once the words come, all of the walls in my reality seem to fade away.

Much ado about the opposite of nothing

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 I have been conspicuously absent from reading other blogs, or anything else in the category of the written word, because I have been alarmingly removed from anything resembling spare time.   I am on day 10 of a potential 14-day work stretch without a full day off and will certainly log a great deal of overtime this week.  (too bad I’m on salary)

I miss the carefree hours of being able to have enough brain capacity to read on a recurring basis.   This phenomenon happens frequently this time of year and I feel like I am missing an appendage when I cannot feed the creative appetite that incessantly yearns to be fed by words.

My attention span is non-existent.  My ability to concentrate is tenuous.   My capacity to hold a thought is…………………waning.  And the notion that I have enough brain power to write blog posts on my own site on a frequent basis is nothing short of laughable.

Next week is a quiet week at work, probably the last extensive time period that I will have to fill my desire to absorb words as quickly as I am able to, and write words that long to be freed from my mind, before the onset of summer.   The list of books has been established, the index of writing topics has been inventoried, the sequential collection of email notifications has been queued, the wine has been stored at the proper temperature and the spot on the couch has been reserved.

I can only hope that the three empty days on the calendar at work remain that way, for my sake.  I’m slowly learning to be a little more selfish when it comes to pursuing my true passions and I wish for the break in reality to be able to seek the charms of the fantasy life that awaits me in the world of literature and composition.