Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Untitled ...

I don't have a post in mind. I'm just of a mind to write a post.

It feels strange to have not written for a week. Last Sunday's post just fell out of my brain. I had one sentence in mind and the rest made itself known while I typed. Sometimes it happens that way.

And then I wrote a little post about John when I returned to the hotel after his wake and a very odd dining experience, but then again, when you're eating in a restaurant that never closes, "odd" tends to be baked right in.

My Monchhichi/Tom Jones comparison doesn't really count as a post. That was just the result of the weird way my brain works sometimes.

So here we are. Assuming that you're still with me. I wouldn't blame you if you'd already clicked over to LOLCats or decided to knock someone off in Mafia Wars.

Are people still playing Mafia Wars?

I just felt like writing today. I felt like writing yesterday, too. This post, technically, is leftovers. I started writing it yesterday and then saved it as a draft because it wasn't hanging together, not that this revisitation of it is making any sense.

So here I am. On the loveseat in the living room, clacking away, very aware of the fact that this post may never see the light of day. Sometimes – not often, but sometimes – I write posts just for the sake of writing, not for the sake of publishing. Sometimes, there are words pent up inside me and I have to write them down.

I was thinking yesterday about words and people who use them well.

Years ago, I was with my friend Dave at his studio, and as we headed to the elevator – no doubt on our way to get coffee, which is really all we ever do, not that I'm complaining – he asked if I had any gum.

I always have gum.

I dug into my purse to retrieve some for him and he said, "My gum's just not violent enough lately."

Don't you just love that sentence, that utterance?

"My gum's just not violent enough lately."

We both chew the same brand and flavor, but he had mistakenly bought Peppermint instead of our usual Polar Ice. Polar Ice is indeed far more intense than Peppermint. Polar Ice kicks sand in Peppermint's face.

Or, put another way, flavor-wise, Polar Ice is violent.

But I was so charmed by that description. I can think of no other friend – or foe, or stranger, for that matter – who would think to describe gum as violent. But Dave would. Dave did.

And that's one of the reasons why I love him. We have music in common, but all I can do when it comes to music is appreciate it. Well, I can sing a little, too, but he can write music, a feat which blows my mind. Words, though, words I know. So I'm pleased to have friends who love words, too. A lot of people don't seem to give words much thought, but they're magic to me. Fascinating. Utilitarian in some ways, artful in others.

And sometimes, entirely inadequate.

Like now. When I'm well aware that what I'm writing is coherent yet really makes no sense.

There's no reason for this post. I just feel the need to write.

It's like excavation, getting word rubble out of the way as I dig down toward a solid idea.

Ideas, though, as I've said before, are like mercury: The more you try to grasp them, the more they slip away.

Last week, sitting at a bar in a Thai restaurant in Easton after John's funeral, I mentioned that to two new friends. One of them wisely suggested that the key to mercury lies not in attempting to capture it but in attracting other metals to it.

I wasn't much of a fan of chemistry back in the day, and a quick review of mercury on Wikipedia didn't explain all I wanted to know, but I like his idea regardless of its actual viability.

Chasing an idea? How does that make any sense? Won't it always be ahead of me? How will I gain ground? If I could catch up to it, what would I do? Tackle it? Or would it come with me willingly?

No, I like much better the notion of attracting the idea to me. It's much more agreeable. I've had many ideas before. I don't know why I got it into my head that this time, I needed to pursue one. That's not how writing works for me. That's never been the case. Like the post I referenced earlier here: I had one sentence and the rest just fell out of my brain. But that first sentence just appeared in my brain. I wasn't sitting still, fervently trying to think that particular thought. No, I was walking down the stairs to switch out loads of laundry and suddenly, there it was.

How funny to realize that the key to this particular puzzle is to stop puzzling, to understand that an idea will come to me when it is ready. In the meantime, I just need to live my life in whatever form that takes each day.

And do some laundry. And when the laundry's done, wash the dishes. And then Swiffer the floors. And then dust ... everything. Trust me, everything is dusty.

The idea will arrive when the idea arrives, but in the meantime, my house will be spotless.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Otherwise known as waiting for the muse to show up -- an enterprise that doesn't pay particularly well.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Nope, that it does not.

The good news is that waiting for the muse does not demand that I stop pursuing all other activities that do pay.

2:48 PM  

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