To my friends, readers and subscribers. I have been a little “stuck” lately in my writing and so, in trying to get “unstuck” I have joined WordPress.com’s Writing 101. As a result, I may be posting more than usual over the next month. My apologies for clogging up the inboxes of my subscribers. I debated not posting this one, but so many of you are my friends and while I write primarily to understand, I also write to be understood. So those of you who are my friends and family: Welcome to 20 minutes (or a bit longer) of my free-wheeling inner dialogue and thanks for being my friend anyway.
So after hours of agonizing over this “free” write assignment, here I am. Writing. How “free” it is, I’m not sure. The only way I can even do this assignment is to tell myself or at least pretend that I’m not going to publish it. Because the moment I think someone is going to read it, all freedom goes out the window. Which I hate. Because, honestly, I like to think of myself as someone who is rather free-spirited and not burdened by what others think. The reality, however, is that I do care what others think.
In fact, right now, I am dreading the thought of how you are receiving my bad analogies or metaphors or cliché’s or judging me for improperly using the terms in the first place. And really, if I’m “free” writing, should I be worrying about sentence structure and overuse of words like “however”, “in fact” or “therefore”? Probably not. But I am.
And so I find myself just sort of frantically writing – typing as fast as I can think (but not really because that’s impossible), trying to outrun my thoughts. Which as I just stated is impossible.
Can you delete in a free write assignment? Can you backspace and add a new word? Correct spelling? Change anything? I hope so because it’s happening. Less than it would if I weren’t “free” writing but more than not-at-all.
I hate that it’s impossible to outrun my thoughts. Not just here, in free write. But in life. Outrunning my thoughts has been a life-long adventure – no, that’s not the right word – life-long obsession? I don’t know. But something like that.
See…people think I’m a great word person…but it takes time to find the right word. At work I often hear this: “Come on, Nichole. What’s a good word for that? You’re the word person.” Well that’s a sure-fire way to completely stop the flow of words or rational thought in my brain. On-demand wordsmithing is like …what? Ok apparently it’s a lot like on-demand analogy making – something I’m not so good at.
The image that keeps coming to mind is of a deer in headlights. But how cliché! And so there it is, a terrible, awful, overused, boring cliché of an analogy.
And now you know the truth I’ve always feared you’d find out: I’m not really good with words or analogies or anything at all. I’m just another blogger – there’s millions of us, right? And I’m just one of the many, typing away, spilling out thoughts and ideas that for some reason seem great to me but are nothing worth keeping for anyone else. Nothing that will change the world or shatter the prisons we find ourselves in.
Sometimes…sometimes…I write and stumble upon something beautiful. Something special and wonderful that, if nothing else, changes me. Perhaps not in monumental ways, but by uncovering another bit of truth. Like peeling back another piece of old, dry, discolored wallpaper to reveal something genuine, solid and valuable underneath. Something real and worthwhile, that changes how I see, understand and live – even just the littlest bit.
When we bought our fixer-upper home,
we had more wallpaper to remove than I care to remember. Wallpaper that was laid on sheetrock long before “sizing” was created. So we spent hours upon hours with spray bottles of vinegar and water and various tools, scoring, cutting, scraping, washing. And while I would rejoice every time ….
Is it ok to get up and answer the door, use the restroom, let out the dog when you’re free-writing? I hope so. Because I just did…at least one of those things…maybe all of them…you’ll never know.
…And while I would rejoice…but wait…I thought of a better way to say this while on my brief expedition… (See how the thoughts never stop!)….
And occasionally, when removing wallpaper, you peel off this big, giant sheet at once and you’re like, “Yes! Now we’re talking!” And you think you’re onto something – some new method that worked better or maybe a part of the job where things will come more easily now. But that lasts about a half a second because on your next attempt the paper is so flippin’ stuck, you’re reduced to picking it off with your fingernails, which takes about 45 minutes and costs you yet another nail. (Not that you do much with your nails anyway – you’re fixing up a house for crying out loud.)
So where was I? Wow, this free write stuff is dangerous. I see why publishing it is “optional.”
Ah yes, writing and discovering the truth and wallpaper analogies. Writing, at least for me, is work. Sure, I suppose it’s easier for me than for some, but its also harder for me than others. And takes more time than most of you would guess.
Words – finding the right ones – or at least the closest thing to the right ones – takes time, thought, mental energy. And most often, I’m just barely expressing a shadow of what I’m thinking and feeling.
And yet for some reason, I keep scoring, cutting, scraping to find out what’s underneath. To see, after hours of picking and digging and peeling, something real, something true, something genuine, something solid and valuable emerge. Something that, with a little more scrubbing and washing, will shine.
Because writing, for me, is about understanding. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sometimes I write to be understood but mostly I write to understand. To find. To discover…the truth.
If this wasn’t a free write, I would go back and edit this baby. And I would add bits and pieces about how scraping wallpaper and remodeling a fixer-upper and writing are all treasure hunts. I would fix my words (I mean, even that, really? “fix my words”? What am I even saying?) and beautify my descriptions and unify this wacky, almost 1000 words of meandering thoughts, and give you something palatable and helpful and hopefully enjoyable.
And now I see from that last paragraph, that even in my “free” write, you, my reader, are ever and always in my thoughts. My consciousness that someday, someone may read this and anything else I write is almost inescapable. Oh well. Maybe I will publish, maybe I won’t. But for now, I lift you up in prayer, whoever you are: that you, too, will find your way of discovering, of understanding, of knowing the truth. It’s the only thing that matters. It’s the only thing that lasts.