It’s ironic how life can get in the way of writing when life is the inspiration for writing. A recent visit from my daughters, son-in-law, and two granddaughters interrupted in a pleasant way my moments at the computer struggling for words. We went to the races and the park, strolled down Broadway in Saratoga and did some shopping, ate lunches and dinners together, and played, all of which planted within me ideas for future writing. And now back at the computer, back at my frequent struggles with my blog, I long for those moments with my family.
I wonder how some writers do it, that daily schedule of writing, that morning cup of coffee and those hours pulling from within words that often change before making it onto the page. I wonder how they stop the incessant chatter in the mind. I wonder how they corral the emotions—the fear, the loneliness, the anger—into a story or a poem or an essay that can connect to another human being in any meaningful way.
In the early hours of the morning, in that dream-like state just before full consciousness, the words come to me but begin to morph even before I can reach for a pen and paper. An hour or two later, I can sit at the computer all morning without being able to pull it all together.
When I was a child, like so many children then and today, a favorite activity for me occurred after a heavy rainstorm when rivulets ran along curbs and I could build a dam with sticks and stones to stop the flow. The dam didn’t last long. Soon the strength of the water pulled at the structure and the small river flowed again. Maybe writing is a little like that. A dam forms but at some point the words are so strong, they push onward past the blockade. Maybe it’s the strength of one’s emotions that does it. When you think about great writers, especially the Romantic poets, but really so many others, it’s not possible to choose, you realize how they used their emotions to propel the words. And it’s often not the case that those emotions are joyful. I don’t think they have to be, and so I am told, quite frequently in fact, that my writing is often sad. Maybe Sylvia Plath once was filled with joy. I think she was. But things go wrong and sadness and grief can take residence in words and end up on a page that may or may not ever be read by someone else.
So breaks occur in my writing, whether in my blog, or in my poetry journals, or in the novels I work on that I am never completely satisfied with. I look forward to those interruptions in writing like the childhood dams built to stop flowing water, because I know that behind them will come the words forced on by emotions created by events in life, or people, or nature, and it’s all very inevitable like rainfall during a storm.