It has been a very long time since I’ve been woken by erratic words racing through my head, waiting to be caught in a net and sorted to make some semblance of order. Last night was one of those nights.
I remember when I was young this would happen with frightening frequency, sometimes causing my dreams to alter and recur till my mind was convinced those recurring thoughts were actual true events that had happened. That fogginess surrounding their memory made me feel insecure and confused, so the only solution was to write them down in poetry or prose. That is how my crime thriller, The Iron Pendulum, came about.
My earlier poetry was always considered dark and depressing because my mind was regurgitating these mixed up melodies of thought and emotion and squeezing them out like toothpaste from a tube onto paper. The concentrated effected was extremely harsh and hard for those around me to swallow without a gulp or too, giving me a second look as though I were crazy. Maybe I was. Maybe I am but I hide it better these days. Those dreams don’t recur any more and the words don’t rush around waking me with their screams. Until last night, that is.
Every writer or artist finds a way to express what is trapped inside. I believe every human has that same story to tell. This belief is re-enforced when I meet strangers. I love listening to their lives unfolding before me, hearing the cracks and breaks, the smooth silky lies weaving and whispering between the truths. Sometimes, I’m motivated to share mine; other times their desperation to squeeze their toothpaste tube thoughts leaves little room for conversation but requires keen listening. It’s cathartic for both parties and we part as friends but remain strangers.
My mind is a stranger to me at the moment. I force it to train and conform to what I see in other writers: that beautiful consistency and strong motivation to succeed. It balks at the idea and sits silent, a stubborn muse refusing to wear the dress I’ve picked out for it. Instead, it prefers to run naked and wild, inhibited by society or cultural norms, forsaking time and commitment- leaving me vulnerable and empty when I need to be full of ideas.
So I wait. I wait for moments like last night and I listen for those ethereal footsteps running across my mind. I catch the wind beneath its feet and start to write the hotch-potch words tumbling out. Whether it’s worthwhile or not is never the point. It’s showing my muse the appreciation and freedom it deserves so that it returns more regularly, knowing it’s free to roam as it chooses and that I’m willing to accept this and use it.
Isn’t it amazing how the mind works? How does yours work?