From April 2021:
I haven’t kept my promise. I haven’t kept up on this blog. It was mostly a promise to myself, but made public to keep me accountable. I am more likely to keep my promises to myself if I feel beholden to others. And yet I failed my promise anyway. Not because I forgot, but because, like many this past year, I lost my creative drive. Well, here I am again. It is still hard to stay motivated, but I am building it back. And for my return to writing, I am starting with a short essay describing my lost battle with trying to hold onto my creativity.
A notebook sits open on a table. A page is filled with looping letters and barely legible words. Some lines are written in a careful hand like it is a love letter written by a wistful teenage girl. Other lines are crammed with words made of scratches that are messy and give the viewer a sense of anxiety, lines that scream with the impatience of a hand that cannot keep up with the mind it is attached to. All across the page there are scribbles. There are blocks where one continuous line loops over and over until the words underneath are buried. There are violent slashes that hex out words that refuse to deny their existence. If these endless loops and aggressive slashes were placed in red pen one might imagine at giant “F” circled at the top by a sadistic teacher.
A ballpoint pen, that cheap kind with the messy ink and the logo of some random business, taps on the bottom of the page making a constellation of blue dots. Tap, tap, tap goes the pen until it seems to come to a decision. The ballpoint stabs into the lower left corner of the page and grinds a long, slow, continuous line up to the top right hand corner of the page. The mark it leaves behind implies the universal symbol for a single word: NO. No, you cannot read this. No, these words are not worthy. No. The pen bounces down onto the notebook leaving one last small smear of ink before slipping off the paper and clattering onto the table.
Fingers spread wide across the page pressing down on the forbidden words. Ink smears from the freshly made line across the page. The fingers begin to slowly pull themselves into a fist. The tension between flesh and paper forces the page to wrinkle and fold. As the hand continues to implode the sheet of rejected words the secured edge gives way, releasing from the coils that bind it to the notebook. As each coil releases its grip on the sheet, a sharp “thip” emits from the book.
The fingers finally turn tightly into the palm with the paper crumpled beneath and rests there for a bit. Then in a burst of motion the fingers splay wide. The crumpled wad of paper and the words it holds are released. The sheet slides across the table until there is no more table to cross. From there the words fall off the table edge into the abyss.
Softly, it lands with a whisper like dry leave in a breeze. A whisper created not by itself, but by a multitude of voices. It becomes another drop in a pool of tears. Nestling next to its siblings of lost words.