At times it’s a bit chaotic in here, inside my head. Think of a room with flashing lights of every color one can think of. Each color represents another idea, but flying around so fast that you can’t grab any of them. You whip your arms around, hands open and grasping but missing every time, a handful of air.
That’s what it’s like inside my head. Bits and pieces strewn all over my brain, shards of glass everywhere, all with sharp edges that promise to make me bleed if I can only get hold of one. I’d gladly do so if only to feel the pain, something better than nothing or at least better than the blank page I’m staring at. Every writer or writer wannabe would rather have blood on their finger tips than pristine, non-calloused digits. It means we’re working toward something, anything, trying to pry our mind open to understand that which we don’t, or express that which we think we do.
Sometimes, there’s nothing. My page is a cold and empty brick room with white walls that echo with the sound of nothing but my own tinnitus. A lone black chair stationed in the middle invites me, so I oblige and take a seat in hopes the Muse will come. Nothing. Absolute silence. A sensory deprivation tank of my own mind. I search my head for something to write, anything to satisfy my compulsion and rid myself of this this empty page I’m staring at. Most times, it’s starting that’s the hardest, but finishing that’s the worst.
Each time something is “finished”, for they never are, we release our little birds into the wind, a whisper of trepidation entering our heart. Our work is out there to be seen, which is the ultimate goal, but as a parent sending their child to kindergarten for the first time, we are hesitant to let it out of our sight. Butterflies flutter about in our belly, newly born from the knowledge that our work will be scrutinized, criticized, poked, prodded, ridiculed, and if we’re lucky, praised, whether grudgingly or genuine.
The work created by us is no longer ours when it’s released, attaining a life of its own for a short time, at least. Some work, after its initial release will generate thought, enjoy the sweet taste of being read and relevant even if for a moment. But, like a one hit wonder, popular for a short time, it will disappear into the ether, it’s time complete only to be forgotten, buried at the bottom of the website, stacked at the bottom of the paper pile, or relegated to the distant corner of the bookshelf never to be read again.
Some works will never know the warmth of being read. Either the authors themselves deem them not worthy, or they are introduced but remain anonymous, ignored by everyone and everything. The words wither and die in silence never to be heard from again.
Of course, should one be lucky enough to strike a chord in the human psyche and the accompanying notoriety that comes with it, the work will live on indefinitely, being referenced, reintroduced, read widely and acknowledged along with its creator. The golden child of the many produced by the writer, the one that “made it”, cementing itself as part of the human spirit, its voice able to speak for the writer for generations, as one still reads Aristotle, Voltaire, and Dostoyevsky, their voices still singing in the wind though their bodies have long since gone.
It’s not fame the writer chases, but simply to be read, to speak as all humans do, but also to be heard. The page is finite as it’s impossible to get every thought out on paper that addresses all aspects of what one wishes to say, but the words obtain a magic once they hit the page, a magic born of one’s mind, a product of their thought tangible for everyone else to see. There’s no hiding once published. Your thoughts are no longer your own, but now belong to the world to reject, accept, or the worst of all…ignore. Rejection is at least an acknowledgement of being read, better than nothing.
So, I’ll sit here each morning, or evening, or afternoon, or whenever and write. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to say, sometimes I do. Sometimes it pours out of me as wine from a cask, others, as molasses from a tree – slow and deliberate. The key for me is to at least try. If I try hard enough, maybe the Muse will heed my summons and grace my fingers, helping me produce something worthy of being read. If I don’t, the Muse will never come, an invitation never sent.
I hope she hears me today.