The Thing About Writing

The thing about writing is that I put myself out there.  And what I mean by “out there” is heart on my sleeve, neck on the line, and often dangling from a limb. Being transparent is risky.

The subject matter of my life right now is unpleasant. Deep. Raw. Painful.

Who wants to talk about death? Who wants to follow grief?

It can look like a tangled mess. All wrapped up in intense emotion and wound real tight.

Yet, here I am and this is the way it is. For now.

At first, I thought I would open up this space simply for chronicling the journey. I don’t ever, for as long as I live, want to hide it away and forget one single second of what I have gone through this past year. I don’t want to lose one minute of what I’m walking through now in this precious time of what I call The After.

Writing soothes my soul. That might sound cliche, but let me tell you…it is everything for me just now. Everything.

I sit here at this keyboard and watch as the words slip and slide out from underneath the cursor one letter at a time. It’s beautiful to me, how that happens. Letter by letter, the words form in the white space of nothingness.  The depths of my heart and mind untangle to find their visual form. It is as if my invisible emotions come alive. Tangible and real.

This space and these words are my therapy. But I’ve got to tell you, I can’t write everything I think and feel. So often, I want to do that.

Sometimes I long to throw up all over the page.

But I don’t. I save that for the deep inside. All of that vomit is tucked safely away in the recesses of my heart. One might think that this kind of emotion needs to find its way to the surface. I find myself incredibly protective of it, though. It’s mine and mine alone.

I have no doubt you all know what I’m saying here. Yes, you all have that kind of hidden pain, too. At least to some extent.

Writing also means following some kind of formula. Watching the p’s and q’s. This, however, is my greatest weakness.

I am not one who wants to follow the rules.

I like to write in fragments. Sometimes run-on sentences just feel right. I love to see single sentences suspend alone in their own paragraphs. I have an aversion to commas, too (yet that one is nicely placed, isn’t it?). I have thought about this a lot lately. Wondering why it is that I don’t care about the grammar of it all.

It has dawned on me lately as to why.  It’s because this is how I think. It’s the way my thoughts flow and how the emotions long to show up. There are times that if I stop and think about the mechanics of it all, well…I get stymied. The technicalities put a choke hold on the words.

I do know that all of the grammar stuff needs its respect. In fact, writing beyond those boundaries is a liberty that disregards the reader at times.  Writing in a way that I deem best can often come across as selfish on my part. In essence, I am asking you to think the way I do.  To feel the same as I feel. I’m making quite an assumption in doing this.

But for now, I liken these words of mine to the contents of a box tucked away deep in the corner of a basement somewhere. A box containing what’s similar to Christmas lights taken down hastily last year and shoved inside without the thought of the next time they are needed. My emotions are tangled up and twisted together, nestled down in the dark bottom of the box with the lid snapped tight, taped down for extra measure. Stored away until it’s necessary to get them out again.

Sooner or later, that box has to come up out of the basement. The lid has to be taken off and the stored lights have to be lifted out in their tangled, knotted up, and disordered mess. Even if it is frustrating, the untangling begins.

And no matter how painstaking it can be.  No matter how long it might take, inch by inch, light by revelational light, the unraveling creates a straight, single line. Soon, all of those wires and lights connect together to make something quite worthwhile.  Something beautiful.

This is what writing is doing for me. Unpacking the tangled mess and pain. Lifting it out of storage and helping it all unwind. Little by little and inch by inch, these words of mine are doing much the same.

Untangling it all.






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