Monday, June 16, 2008

Broken Light

At about one in the morning I suddenly realise I no longer know how to write. Otherwise why should this review be so damn hard? I know I have performance anxiety, but still. I have deleted about 20 false starts. Every word that comes seems trite, stupid, inconsequential.

Full of sound and fury.

Signifying nothing.

Always, nothing.

Dear God, I have forgotten how to write. How did this happen? How did I let me slip away? A simple review, and here I am tied up in knots, unable to produce a damn thing. 187 words, most of which I will delete. And I need 1,000.

Across from me, Mary sits, reading her cheat notes for Streetcar Named Desire. She is hoping she will come across some passage, some sentence, some word, some phrase that will help in this process. She sees that I am in pain. She offers me water, tea, fruit, music, anything to ease the constipation.

She gracefully deflects all my delaying tactics and forces me to write. Rubbish, if I must, but just write.

When did I lose it?

I remember churning out essays at university. OK, the process was increasingly painful. But still, at the end, I would have something I was proud of.

Now, I read the few incoherent sentences jotted out, and think, sheesh, call this a review? Why is it that I am having so much difficulty stringing two words together?

Mary makes an expansive gesture.

"It's everything. It's the environment. It's what you've been writing. You're not happy."


I'm not.

This is not me.

This is not me.

This is not me.

This is not me.

At 3 in the morning, I've finished my first draft. I read it out to Mary, making adjustments along the way.

She says put it away until tomorrow, then look at it again. I nod. Sigh. Drive home. Shower. Crawl into bed. Sleep.

The words have disappeared and there is only silence.


john calica said...

You haven't sold out, if that's what's pulling you down. You're be earning bread for your words...

Jenn said...

Thanks John. It's not selling out so much as not being able to find the words...or finding words inadequate...or re-reading what I wrote and feeling ashamed...