Last night I sat with four other writers intending to crosshatch meaning into my language. Like now, I sputtered up nonsense for a good twenty minutes before I even saw the hint of my own voice. It reminded me of bad kissing, or maybe not bad kissing, but first kissing.
It was an intentional space for writing – not a cafe, but a “house party” of sorts, designed to jump start the creative commitment. I’ll definitely return, and hopefully slide into place more quickly. But I have it; I’m doing it, writing. It’s not even commitment, it’s default. Whether I write here, in lyrics, in poems, essays, powerpoints, window collages or sand mandalas, I have an addiction to meaning making. Or maybe just making out.
It seems to me that the words disappear, or seem shifty when I have a solid plan for them. And it’s become apparent that when I “put a ring on it” my voice breaks. The irony is, I write for an audience, but when the audience is there, I want to share the activity, and it leaps off the page, and into dialogue. When the reader is reading, I have nothing to say. So, go away? No. Don’t.
More trust is required when I have a reader. It’s dangerous. Like a fourteen year old, mouth pressed up against a spongy mass of wet flesh, there is no way to counteract the risk. How does the act hit the heart? How does it change things? Words have the same power. Before it happened I was effervescent with the excitement: A night walk with Chris Black (in my case) and the hope of a real, honest-to-goodness french kiss, a shift in identity and a marker measured in the highway of my life. But after that kiss, we walked slowly through the Gold River greenbelt, and I prayed I’d never see him again. I started with sputter. Within a couple years, I had perfected the art of kneading and petting lips into submission. It just took time.
And I’ll take as long as I need.