I am standing in the bathroom at work. My head is dizzy. My knees weak. I’m not sure why but there is no breath in my lungs. There’s a tick in the back of my mind that forces me to continue plodding along the current path I’m on, hoping — no, praying — that something comes along to free me from this cage I’ve gone and locked my own-damned-self in. The idea of doing something is nauseating. Anything really. The worst of the situation comes when I catch my own eye in the mirror, and the stand-off between an image I perceive as a self I have let down, and the personal vessel that stands in front of the sink at this given time begins. I wash my hands twice. The slamming of my eye-lids — as I attempt to scare away the voices — only works for zero time. And it hits me; I miss writing. My body, my mind, my hands, they pine for it. The need is so bad all of the small bones in my fingers ache. Like tiny birds on a cold autumn evening. It can strike at any time.
There’s more than one reason why I miss this practice. Just writing… for the hell of it, is relaxing. Zen like. As for the multitude of other reasons, the easy answer is the therapeutic nature of it all. The harder answer is that I need to do it.
The family home in Tofino, BC. One of my happy places.
Whether I’m sitting down at a local coffee shop (I’m working on a list of best Vancouver coffee shops to write in), or I’m at home — attempting to keep myself from distraction that all the world’s internet has to offer my increasingly diminishing brain cells — my mental self is not satisfied without the hyper-fluctuating practice of trying to be creative with words.
True, the moments that are difficult may feel masochistic when it is all said and done. But there’s a time and place for that kind of release in life as well.
It’s the ease. It’s the flow. It’s the phantom possession deserving of Father Damien Karras. The moments that puppet your muscles and convulses your fingers in a way that slaps a bunch of keys — in my case, it’s usually the tip of a pen on a large sheet of lined paper — turning everything into semi-readable form of expression. Jonas Ellison says it best in When the writing writes back.
“I become calm. Settled in.”
I am not — rather, I cannot — tell you with flawless accuracy what it feels like to have electricity flow through your appendages. I’ve lost minutes, hours, days, in the thick of that magic. Everything just happens. I can’t justify the movements of thought, or the combination of words. I awaken from a dream, with something of a crime scene.
Dusk. English Bay, Vancouver.
When I was a young teen, in the forest of horrible choices not yet trying to find my way out, I was prone to blackouts. I’d swing away, rage fueled and relentless. I can akin this feeling to the way I emerge ignorant to the events of a writing session. And I mean a REAL writing experience. Not those moments where your train is stalling and the engines need a while to rev up. Those real moments of unexplainable creation are undeniably the most beautiful moments in a writer’s life. Something has happened, seemingly without any influence from myself.
When I am filled with the need — the craving of this drug — I must facilitate it. I try my best to subdue the agony during predetermined tasks of any given day. But maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe you shouldn’t either! If it’s a part of you, this absolutely bone-rattling disease called being a writer, you should do all in your power to quench the thirst your being has.
One of my partner’s “doodles”.
I see artists making art. Supreme talent oozing out of people. My partner, draws. Endlessly at times. And I’m lost in the beauty of it all. Those intricate, tiny lines. The look of determination, understanding, and unknowing willfulness that glows from her as she zooms her vision to the miniscule sects of a page. A large plank of off-white that started blank, no lines, no ideas. Until, thrust upon it, magic. It makes my blood feel cold, in an inspiring way. Witnessing the birth of something astounding isn’t much of a spectator sport however. As there’s no way to grasp the stream of powerful water flowing through the mind of the pen-wielder. But it’s then, seeing such a thing, that I feel my heartbeat its fastest.
I want to create. I fight to create. And at times, creation fights me. But at the end of the day, that moment when I close my notebook and flip over (SNAP!) the elastic that holds it shut, I am that creation. It’s a snapshot of the way it makes me feel. The way it makes me feel whole. The part of me that people can only read, and never truly understand. Or see. It sets me apart. It makes me feel bold. It’s me.
This began as a desire to get something out of me. Some satin midnight fire, that had been boiling up. I haven’t crafted many point-of-view pieces lately. I don’t know if it ever got to the point which I intended it to die when I started. But the tightness in my chest, and the shake in my knees has calmed drastically as a result. Which is nice. I may be entitled to some rest tonight. Let’s hope my body feels the same.