Monday, April 18, 2016

The Block (On Writing)

The way forward's been dark for some time.



Many years ago, back when I had faith in things unseen, I had a dream in three parts. (I thought then it was a dream about wandering in the desert, judged aberrant, unworthy, and that God would find me after years of thirst to take me to the promised land.)


First, a dream-baby. I ran with her through a desert gouged by deep holes. I kept dropping her, over and over, as I ran from something unseen.



Then, a kite festival. We flew wind-borne men, not paper and string, in joyful colors -- sinew and skin stretched over a latticework of bone.



Finally, I stood surrounded by darkness. A wind picked up that tore away everything I held dear. My family, friends, pets, job, money, home, jewelry, clothes. It ripped away my driver's license and social security card, my birth certificate, my wedding ring, my name. I lay naked and curled at the bottom of the dark for a long time.

Meanwhile, the world went on.







Still, something called to me, winging silent through the dark. I followed, lonely and faithless.

This lasted almost two years.

What I didn't know was that by listening and moving, just one foot in front of the other, laboriously, I was walking the faithway into myself.

And one day I sat in front of a blank page, cursor blinking, and I wrote:

[allow it to suck. Here, words. Now, words. Go ahead and suck....]

And the next day I sat in front of a blank page, cursor blinking, and I wrote:

[What is the point? Magic. Lightness of being. The sound of dancing, spinning, singing at the sky. Flow. That's the point. Is this hard? So breathe. What is the point? Enjoying the movement and flow. The sound of the keys going, the music of them. The feel of the story scrolling out under your fingertips, like a dance. So what is success here? It's the feel of the dance, and you've already entered it. You've already succeeded, you're breathing and feeling the sound of the breath in your nostrils and the words in your head. So try hard. Dance hard. That is success. And if you fall? IF YOU FALL you fall. And you've tried hard and you've felt the dance in your fingertips. Kiss them. They get you fucking far, lover-creator-mine. You are amazing.]

And the day after that?

I looked back and saw the Block, how big it was, and how far it was behind me.

Yours (still walking away),
xo
Lora

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New 50-word story out at Fifty-Word Stories: "Father-Daughter Lessons"
New essay forthcoming from FLAPPERHOUSE: "Penning the Nasty/Creed"

Listen to Mary Oliver read "Wild Geese" | On Being