Awkward Silence

Staring at a blank document on my laptop, I type the words, “I am struggling to write.”  I pause and look at the screen and read the words to myself. My brow furrows as a voice within me says, “That is a lie!”

The truth is, I write constantly. I write every day. I write for hours at a time.

Early in the morning and late at night, I write. Alone or with my child, I write. I wake myself up from dreams at the “good part” and I write. When there is no pen in my hand, there is one in my mind and I write. I am – at all times – writing. Even during a simple written conversation with a friend I will break into prose.

I wrote to a friend, “And why do I think of stuff like this: ‘Silence rests on my tongue and tastes of bile as my sorrow smothers me from within’? What the fuck does that even mean? Why is that how my mind works when it does not seem to make a bit of difference in the grand scheme of things?”

Even when I don’t want to write, I do. It appears to be in my DNA. I have prayed, at times, for God to remove the impulse from me. I am either passionate or obsessed or passionately obsessed.

So writing, it seems, is not my problem. My real problem is, I am not just a writer. I am a Griot – a storyteller, a praise singer, a poet, and a historian. My struggle is not in writing the story. My trouble is in sharing the story.

I write what I feel and what I experience. These days, it is all so unkempt, untidy, and will not stay within the lines. It is “contained” or “Chernobyl”. The chasm between the two is laced with indifference and void of inspiration, but that seems par for the course.

These days my story is not wrapped up tidy at the end with a bow of hope or faith or courage or love. It is speaking about all the dark parts we all have and spend our lives trying to hide. It is the stuff we are taught to confess only to God… or a therapist. It is the stuff that no one wants to listen to or they immediately want to fix or judge or dismiss as “crazy”.

People don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to talk about it. They want to pretend it does not exist in you, therefore it can most CERTAINLY not exist in them. They do anything they can to distract themselves from it. They medicate it with food, with exercise, with sex, with money, with shopping, with gossip, with busy-ness, with politics, and with religion… stuffing it down until they are at the point of bursting.

Then, we all feign shock at the bursting, the acting out.  You know the stuff that we watch on the news as we self-righteously shake our heads and discuss.  Things like the eating disorder, the drugs and alcohol, the overdose, the affairs, the gambling, the bankruptcy, the child abuse, the domestic violence, the nervous breakdown, the cult-like religious fervor, the suicide, the homicide.  But we never stop to ask what made the seams split in the first place?

They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. So lets also hope that when the writer is ready, the audience will arrive. For those who have ears to hear, let them hear.