One of the difficult parts of writing is what to do with the words that come into your head seemingly out of nowhere. The ones where you need to rush to find a pen or your computer and write them down before they are lost. For example, I was sitting on the couch in the living room of my parents house late this summer. I was alone, my husband and daughter had left for home so that I could spend a few more days here. My parents were in their respective chairs in the family room. TV blaring. It was after lunch but not yet time for cocktails so they were in their routine of crossword puzzles and newspapers and TV shows when I slipped into the living room.
It isn’t a large room but it has a large bay window on one wall and two tall windows on another making the room bright. The view is mainly large tree branches and leaves that surround the stone driveway and live on a sidehill of pine needles, a small pond hides behind them. Inside there’s a piano, a grandfather clock, a square table with two captain’s chairs and the fold-out couch where I sleep at night. The perimeter is filled with knickknacks that have cluttered our lives since childhood but are now talisman.
I was sitting here, relaxing, listening, looking and then the light changed and the words started to write themselves so quickly that I had to use my blackberry to capture them:
The sun appeared to give this dismal day a final kiss of hope. After a dismal, graduated grey of a day filled with drips of rain and drabs of family memories, the low glances of yellow sat on the edges of the wet, dark green trees and lit up against the wall in dance as if to say, “get over it and remember there is still a world out here, outside this house of shallow graves.” The blue seaglass and purple glass paperweights long forgotten, left on dusty window sills are lit now, dancing brightly like nooks and crannies holding secrets only fingers of the blind would find there. I turned my head just in time to see the branches reaching restfully to dry their undersides and drink the yellow beams subtly titling to me in the billowing breeze to sway a rhythm not unlike the slow beating of my heart that rears its simple breaths in grief as I remember a close friend that recently died much too young. But this day now done, this dismal dreary day was a day I had alive and who beg am I to shame this day just because the clouds came and blanketed the hills in rain when so many would yearn to inhale her scents of earth? Raise up my eyes and heart to the tips of the trees and commune as the orchestrated wind plays all bush and branch and brattled boasts of elm!
So what to do with these moments, these words? Edit them down into a poem or expand into a story? I have folders filled with words like these. They represent the release I needed, to get the words out. Sometimes it’s like that. I was upset the other day when I walked through the large cemetery near my house because in my head I was writing and editing what I thought was strong poetry that I felt surely I would not forget. I didn’t have my phone, I didn’t have a notebook and when I got back to the house I was distracted and the next day I tried hard to remember but couldn’t reach them.
So now I try to carry a pad of paper and pen on my walks. I think it may be easier to get one of those gadgets you talk into and then transcribe when I get back. Or like those days you don’t bring your camera and the world just begs you to take a picture - maybe the words flow better when there is no place to jot them down. Maybe those moments are just moments to enjoy the process of this writing in your brain. I can’t always know when these moments are going to happen but I have left the door open. My good friend Liz says when you are writing that’s when you are listening, when your soul is open to hear. And visa versa. Java!