When the words come calling
Where to start? That is always an author’s quandary.
It has been a journey, there has been insurmountable loss and there is grief that is still uncovered, matted, and sticking to the floor of our collective subconscious. Sometimes I find myself there as well, stuck to the floor, gripping the ground, and praying for stability. “This moment, this moment, this moment.” has become my mantra. For the first time in a long time, I find myself unsure, eyes not so bright and heart heavy. I have looked longingly at blank pages with stories forming like clouds in my mind, but the words escape me. They can’t find their space here, it’s too difficult to get them out. There is so much else that fills the room with long, hard, static sounds that make it hard for me to find the words. The words drown inside me.
There comes a moment in any journey where you lose sight of the city. What was once a crisp familiar outline of buildings slowly becoming a blurred and distorted backdrop. If we attempt to look back, we are greeted with a series of mirages and ghost. Haunting images resembling the past. Nothing looks quite like we remember. I consider this on-going experience of living through a pandemic to be our collective walkabout.
It is disorientating, claustrophobic and chaotic at best.
There are so many things I feel stripped of during this Pandemic but the words I have missed with a longing that breaks my heart. For me words act as a compass, they help me to navigate the world. Sometimes they take me on adventures to places I never knew existed, or they take me within myself and help me to explore places that needed healing or illumination. That’s the great thing about words, they can be so small yet so powerful. They bare wisdom, they inspire, they can set us free.
I have experienced writers block many times, but this experience has different teeth, it has a grip that wont release, and so I find myself wondering around my insulated world without the words to shape my experience. The words are lost on me and in me.
Like a child on a scavenger hunt I continue to search for them. I look for them in the eyes of my children, in the mouth of strangers who seem just as lost as I am and sometimes begrudgingly in the blank expression of the participants of what feels like the endless loop of zoom calls.
Here’s the weird thing, I know the words are there and they are searching for me too.
I am certain that we will find our way back to each other because that’s what words do, they come calling, sometimes so quietly that they surprise us. “Oh, hey there…” I say timidly afraid I might frighten them away as frantically jot down something that resembles the start of a story onto a random piece of paper. Sometimes I feel them mulling around my head trying to take shape when I am in the middle of the grocery line or frantically packing kids lunches when we are already 15 minutes behind schedule.
I have Hope.
It’s such a simple word isn’t it. Hope? Yet it means so much. That’s the power of words. They can give meaning to a moment, they create the space of endless possibilities, worlds exist within the spaces between words.
When I began my journey of storytelling creating hope was at the heart of my desire. To create characters and stories that whisked children away on a journey more often than not to my homeland. I wanted so desperately to fill my pages with hope and inspiration. The words found me eight years ago and took me by surprise, I am not a writer I would tell them but they ignored me and together we created pages filled with wonder for both myself and others to experience. It is their unique ability to take us out of the ordinary and into the stories that is the true magic of words.
I don’t know what my world will look like when the words find me again. So much is different and yet somethings remain the same. More than ever, we need words to lift us up, to join us together and not tear us apart.
We need the words to connect us and keep us inspired.
I know that one day the words will come calling. Perhaps in the middle of the night or at absolutely the most inconvenient moment (Monday morning drop off anyone?) But whenever they return, I have hope in my heart that I will be ready to answer.