by J.M. Phillippe
Sometimes, I feel stuck. Sometimes, all I have in me is a stream of consciousness dump...
I am fumbling for words, searching my memory for rich sensory details, imagery and metaphor, a perfect picture painted with perspicacity, brought forth from my fertile imagination.
I am new again, raw, an amateur who is just barely beginning to understand what creative writing is. I am spilling out consciousness on the page in rambling streams of poorly relayed emotion. Write what you know, but what do I know, anyway? What stories are mine to tell?
Oh, and I thought I was dark before, thought I had some sense of loss or grief, of the thousand natural shocks, but I am only a Horatio, battered witness of the twists and turns all around me. Transferred trauma, and they tell me to take care, but care has been taken to take such time away. I have no time. I have no energy to use what time I have.
I don’t take the time. I don’t spare the energy.
I sleep too much and not enough.
I fall back on the old words, the easy words. It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rings out. Once upon a time, in a land far far away. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Call me Ishmael.
In the room the women come and go, talking of Michaelangelo. And how should I presume?
All words are old, all words used so many times already. Should I dig up my vocabulary books, reacquaint myself with the archaic and obsolete, so that I may impress myself with my own prolix prose?
And the seven (less or more?) great plot lines continue to unfold, over and over, and as Aimee Mann sings, “But nobody wants to hear this tale, The plot is clichéd, the jokes are stale, And baby we’ve all heard it all before.”
The only thing that’s mine is my voice. The only thing that can be new, the only thing that could make a story I tell different than any other.
But my voice needs words.
Words words words.
Lost in page counts, lost in deadlines, lost in pressures and anxieties floating all around me like ash, so thick it coats you, so thick it chokes you.
But even in the ash, a spark may fly, a tiny flake of potential floating on eddies, looking for the right tinder to settle on, the right wind to blow, and kindle standing by, waiting to burn.
I am a pile of kindle, ready to burn. I am waiting for my spark to find me.
J.M. Phillippe is the author of Perfect Likeness and the short story The Sight. She has lived in the deserts of California, the suburbs of Seattle, and the mad rush of New York City. She works as a family therapist in Brooklyn, New York and spends her free-time decorating her tiny apartment to her cat Oscar Wilde’s liking, drinking cider at her favorite British-style pub, and training to be the next Karate Kid, one wax-on at a time.