Photo by BrianWancho
Much of my writing composes itself in my head away from the keyboard. Much of it gets lost in translation by the time I finally sit to write. It has ever been, but lately it seems to happen more frequently.
The words come — maybe while I’m driving, or doing laundry, or in the shower — and they sound right to me, the notes I’d play if only my fingers were on the keys at that moment. Sometimes I think those words reveal great insight. In reality, the greatness is only in my being open to the revelations about myself, but at the time, the words seem magical, and as if appearing by magic. Perhaps no other process in my life confounds and fascinates me more than composing my thoughts into a piece of writing.
One of the worst feelings is leaving the moment, then returning, and discovering the words have fled. They are missing, perhaps lost forever. It can happen after having to deal with something more pressing. It can happen after going to sleep. It can happen as simply as responding to a knock on the door. Then you grasp for the words, and it’s like being in a boat that’s drifting farther and farther away from your destination as you strain to use the oars to get yourself back on course. And the harder you work, the more you push yourself away from where you want to be. So it is with me sometimes when I try to reclaim the words that came before.
Photo by E. O.
Does it live up to your expectations, or down to them?
Photo by Erin Cadigan
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?
That quote, sometimes presented in a version with a folksy grammatical awkwardness but always displaying its liberating and charming insight, has been attributed to the late Satchel Paige. His age was an elusive target for many who tried to nail it down.
I can’t vouch for the quote, but I love it.
Photo by David Molina Grande
That’s my new term for when stream-of-consciousness writing pours out, so organically it stretches the definition of writing because it feels like the words drip themselves directly onto the page, or the screen, as if you’ve opened the proverbial vein.
Image by Fabrik Bilder
I just don’t know which one yet.
This sounds scary, doesn’t it?
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”
— Pema Chödrön
But, that sounds about right, doesn’t it?
Photo by GAV Fotografia
That’s always how it starts, with a blank page or screen or space to fill.
Sometimes the empty page feels safer and more secure than the one that starts to fill up with words and, ultimately, pieces of ourselves.
It’s said that work will expand to fill the time allotted for it. Who sets the parameters for self-discovery, self-revealing, and what is the time allotted? Where are the lines? Where are the margins? Truth is, no one knows when the time will run out.
The purity of the blank page is an illusion, it’s true, but we all have our illusory safety nets that feel like our reality but are in fact a parallel and virtual reality that, if we become too comfortable with them, if we travel too far down the road with them, we find there is no bridge to the other path, to the real, not without going all the way back to a much earlier point where one road split in two.
There are about 10 million reasons why I love sports, but since returning to the business of more regular, structured introspection, I’ve considered one reason that was previously off my radar. It’s all about, particularly in the video age, our ability and desire to replay moments to dissect them, better understand them, relive them and, no doubt, over-analyze them.
I’m good at the latter, especially when it comes to myself. But with the growing awareness of the possibility of false memory, one would pay handsomely for videotape of, say, that moment in third grade, or that life-changing decision and all of the sensory input that preceded it. Imagine a team of analysts — hey! that’s what they call them on TV, but in this context, just perfect — showing replays from different angles, figuring out what went wrong, and how something came to be.
You can explore a moment ad infinitum with video handy. In a team sport — let’s say American football, with 22 players on the field — and analyze missed assignments, good execution and, sometimes, dumb luck. What I wouldn’t give for that as I examine my past.
Image by Fine Art
They say the young question everything, and there’s enough anecdotal evidence to support that contention, but I find the longer I live the more questions I ask — of myself, and of the world.
Just now I was thinking about baseball. A friend of mine is a serious fan who knows the new statistics and the old. He loves good stories. He delves deeply into the game’s metrics and seems to understand the math and the poetry behind it.
Another friend just loves the game, and he doesn’t want to have to think about it too much. So I found myself pondering whether the world of baseball fans has more of the former or the latter. I felt the need to quickly answer that for myself, as if I could not leave it hanging like a curveball waiting to be hit out of the park.
Then, I heard myself think, “I don’t know.”
And I felt how liberating an admission it was, and is. It’s okay to not have the answer to everything. It really is.