Waiting for Happy Endings
I had a really great post planned for tonight. The kind that seems to come out of nowhere yet feels incredibly right as it leap-frogs from your subconscious to your gut. The kind that you know has an “aha!” patiently waiting for you to tease it out as your fingers fly over the keyboard too busy to bother with spell-check or even remember how to use commas properly, at least on that initial outpouring from brain to page. The kind that went right out the window this morning at around 11:30 when the power went off at work in the middle of the blog post you were setting up for work, hurtling further and further away as you tramped down six flights of stairs with your colleagues, dawdled in the cold for half hour or so, got lunch at the new sandwich place, somehow managed to tramp back up six flights of stairs without dying or losing a lung on the way, and tried to rearrange all of the interviews you had planned for the afternoon on your cell phone as it gasped its way through its last few minutes of battery life.
All afternoon that perfect post has lingered on the tip of my brain yet I haven’t been able to muster up even a quick Polaroid of what it was supposed to be. When you work full-time as I do, you get used to writing in the cracks and crannies of the day. You get used to ideas wanting to go into full-blown labor at the precise moment when you can’t take a moment to jot them down cause you’re in the middle of that interview you’ve been chasing for two years now or you’re desperately trying to sketch out the ideas you’re getting paid to produce 9-5 or you’re just in another meeting about another thing you don’t actually have time to do. In other words, you get used to spending a great deal of your day as a frustrated creative writer, no matter how well your other writing work is going.
I’ve learned, however, to just let go of the snippet of poetry, the character insight, the flash of slant rhyme. I’ve learned that they don’t, in fact, go galloping off into the galaxy never to be heard from again. Instead they burrow back into the body, polishing off some of the rougher edges, highlighting some of the hidden nuance, generally gussying themselves up so that they’re even more lyric, more fluid, just more more when they finally somersault onto the page.
The best ideas, I’ve learned, are willing to wait. They’re a lot more patient than I am and will gladly stick around till the right time if I let them. Instead of fussing and fidgeting and fuming about the ones that got away, I think we’d do well to learn to be patient as they are. To trust that when we can finally carve out a few minutes to dance, that perfect phrase will set the needle in the groove and be willing to waltz or samba or do the hustle for as many minutes and as many pages as we have.