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Is anyone else finding it hard to make words? 

In the past two weeks, I have started and stopped three separate letters. None of them will be thrown away or forgotten, I want to finish them all, and they are about things, things that matter, at least to me. But I keep getting partway and then wandering off lost, like the trail of breadcrumbs has just gone missing, pecked up by some jerk of a bird. 

I’m still producing. Every day I sit down and draw or paint. I go out into the neighborhood and take pictures. I am planning things, building, arranging. But the words. They’ve disappeared. And the ones that are still standing, eagerly waving their hands, waiting to be picked, are kind of dumb, even these (sorry, guys).

Maybe it’s because I am feeling wary of putting so many personal things on a page for others to see. Maybe it’s because I want to write something that is not inherently about my life. I am thinking of fiction, wondering if I have it in me, studying Steinbeck’s letters and parsing how he works. Maybe it’s because it’s January and we are stuck between seasons. It likely has something to do with the fact that this week, the deadline is here. Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Later this week, Barack Obama will leave office, to be replaced by Donald Trump. How is that reality? So much about that sentence aches. I don’t understand why people have welcomed 2017, because this is what it promises. So often, these days, I am without words.

Sometimes we are quiet and sometimes we are lost, but we’re here. That is something.

I don’t want to stay quiet, though. You can read that any way you wish, because it has many meanings. And so today’s letter is short, without a greater purpose, without a coherent narrative, tossed out there for anyone who wants to read it mostly to tell you that I am still here, that we are all still here. Sometimes we are quiet and sometimes we are lost, but we’re here. That is something.

Maybe you can also do something for me. Tell me, what do you like reading? If you come back to this weekly letter, what would you like to find? Would you rather I wait to send something until I have a complete, finished story? Or is there something to these brief, inchoate updates that is still valuable?

This project started because I needed to do it for myself. I still need it, but as more of you have subscribed and read—listened, really—I have realized that this letter is also for you. At least, I want it to be. I hope you get something from it. So, please, tell me. What do you get? What do you want? That is an open question. Thank you.

6 Comments

  1. For me, personally…I want to read something that inspires me. Gives me hope. Makes me FEEL something. I am so tired of reading about how everyone is sad Obama is leaving office and Trump is entering office. I am hopeful that 2017 will be a great year no matter what.

    Reply
  2. Dear Christie, in answer to your question….What do l look for in your writings, l think it is your honesty that l crave and celebrate, even your honesty in your last writing telling us that you are lost for words at this time. Maybe we need to just accept that. And trust that another day will come when you actually feel compelled to write about something. Your pictures are enjoyable by the way. Just keep on being you, thank you for sharing. Bess

    Reply
  3. Though I’ve habitually read your writings, I decided to sign up just so I could respond to your question. There are two ways that I interpret your question. What do I like to read? I prefer fiction. Since I was a very young man, fiction has given me an escape that no deeply inspiring non-fiction can. What do I most enjoy from your writings? As was said before, your open honesty. It definitely helps that your thoughts, rambling though they may seem at times, also seem to echo my own. It gives me hope, and a sense of vindication, for those times when I am brave enough to throw my own thoughts out for the world to see.

    I suppose, then, that you should just continue on course. Write what you feel. Write about yourself when it seems appropriate. Write about imaginary talking ducks navigating their way through the violent slaughter of a Hong Kong street market, if you prefer. Just, for those of us that find connection with the words you do manage to exhude, please continue writing.

    Reply
  4. In this post, you had many good words describing how I also feel. It made good points and seemed complete to me. Send whatever you have, whenever you have it, whether you think it’s complete or not.
    You think, feel, and connect to us with words and art. Do you know that we’re out here?
    As a blogger I feel alone, doing it for myself, yet I’m surprised when stats tell me that people are actually out there reading my blog.
    I may be lost and quiet, but I’m here, finding my way. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. What I would like is what you usually offer, including today: your point of view, your emotional honesty, your vulnerability, your insights and your questions. At root, your writing is human and real, and I come here for that. I want to know there are other people who care the way you do. 🙂

    So for me: write about anything you like. It’s your vision and your heart that come through whatever it is, and that’s what matters. Your words and your ideas carry a lot of freight, even when you are spinning your wheels. 🙂 Think of your self as a word locomotive, and sometimes the freight is just so damn heavy that you can’t get the traction you want. But it always pulls itself together.

    Reply
  6. Thank you for sharing how words are and are not coming to you. When you said you are still here…I felt a flood of feelings and gratitude for your expressing that wordless place because I feel it too. I am feeling a space inside where I have no words, no real tangible way to express that lack of knowing what is, what is to come, why the events planned soon and will happen soon (of DT) and all I hear and feel do not line up with my heart. SO the words do not come for me either, like being caught between heart beats, but I am still here.

    Reply

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