Msnowe's Blog

Word.

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 28, 2010

One word, and a blank page. That is even more frightening than no words at all. Because there it is, tempting you. Sometimes, I think I want to be a writer. Of course, the whole thing about being a writer is writing. But I don’t like writing. At least not the conscious act of thinking about it, at least not until I’m “in” it. Yet I also shudder at the thought of invoking divine inspiration, or Coleridge’s “Capital S” Sublime. I don’t even do opium, so that claim falls flat. My words don’t come out of a primordial goo, but they do seem to come in tiny bursts, or little ejaculates (to be explicit and male-centric), or hopefully powerful incendiary devices. But that’s the ultimate problem, contradiction, unfairness—like an enemy IED, I have no clue as to when the next one worth typing will arc over into my intellectual trench and explode. I have no idea when the shards of linguistic shrapnel will dart out in a million directions and splatter brilliantly on the page in droplets of consonants and vowels that I can be proud of. Target: engaged. So that means sitting down to write at a predetermined time is an offensive measure—a battle that may or may not be won, that is if the enemy, the empty page, the single word, even decides to join the fray.

The other day, I was running the bases. Hit a dribbling grounder to the third-base side. Immediately, without even glancing in the direction of my swing, the bat’s vibration, the unmistakable sonar waves of a bad contact were pulsing through my hands and up my arms. In that moment, it was lost. And I knew I was an easy out. I struggled to motion, trying to find the legs who had already learned from my brain the end result of this future, desperate action. But I picked up speed anyway and ran towards first base, finally easing into a stride halfway down the line. Without looking back, it was clear from the indistinguishable and hurried shouts of the other team that some commotion by third base was occurring. And though as I charged forward I could see the first baseman, a burly, squat player, giving his teammate a target with his glove, it was unclear whether he expected to ever receive the ball. Legs charged faster with a new sense of hope. The baseman crowded the bag. In that second, the body decided: “Run straight through.” Collision. Ungraceful fall to the ground. An awkward twisting of bodies.

Unhurt. This time: Safe.

The split-screened second where my body decided before my brain registered what I’d be doing. That is where I hope inspiration/the written word comes from—the body, the combined self of multiples, offers up a phrase out of nowhere, but also necessity. And then it happens. It collides with the world, and we’re glad for having smacked against it.

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