A ROAD TRIP TO WRITE
A scrawl of half finished letters lies on my page. I can feel the cramp at the base of my thumb, the tightness in my wrist. My fingers ache. Does that mean ten minutes are up? I can’t remember when I started. I’m having trouble with this timed session. Everything I write is silly. The editor yacks away at the back of my mind. I gag her, tie the cloth so tight her lips hurt. There is a tiny split at the corner of her mouth. The salt from her tears trickles into it and stings. I blindfold her, tie her to a hard chair, posture perfect.
I am sitting on an old highway northeast of Rosetown. There are huge holes where the asphalt has broken away. Weeds grow in the cracks, meandering from shoulder to centre like sun-warmed snakes. I chose the old highway over the new, to prove I am free, to give myself openness. I am different, looser, an explorer of life. I will be adventurous with my choice of verbs, let another thought take precedence when a word won’t come, leap on it, abandoning the forgotten. I don’t write this for my peers, but for the universe.
The editor rips off her gag, harangues me. “Don’t add anything irrelevant,” she warns. Her voice slithers into my mind like the snake in Eden. I tighten. Suddenly, the idea of writing has all sorts of limits, conditions and results.
The yellow mustard stain on my thumb catches my attention. Another dots my sweater, two woven threads wide. They remind me I have been messy, made a mistake. They bother me. So does the wind. It becomes stronger, more insistent, as noisome as a whiney child. I try to ignore it, but find I’m clutching my pen so tight I’ve strangled the flow of the ink.
My assigned writing time drags. The sun breaks through, “cocky” it jeers, “thinking you were done, trying to organize content. You want a tidy ending for your piece.” NO. I want what flows off the top of my mind. I want what spills from my gut and bleeds from my heart. I keep failing, yet, it is exhilarating to know I am moving forward. “If you’re not falling down, you’re not challenging yourselves.” I say to my kids. I’m writing. I’m falling down. I’m growing. Shine with jubilation, sun. Bless me with your approbation of warmth. I see the light!