The Writer’s Womb
I would write about the difficulty of writing, but I have tried, it is too difficult. I have long thought that the most difficult job in the world would be to have to write a daily, or even a weekly, column for a newspaper or periodical. How would I write something that is “me” when the “me” I am looking for is nowhere to be found? My writing is an extension of the me that few people see until my inner self is revealed in words on paper. Sometimes I don’t even see the me inside, so how can I write?
There are times when I cannot write fast enough to express myself, losing brilliant thoughts as fingers cannot put words to paper before the flashes of brilliance are gone. Other times, I force myself to write something—anything. I start with some inane thought, hoping it will be the nucleus for a greater thought or that it will lead to a series of thoughts to be developed into a cohesive string. It works that way sometimes. Other times? Other times my inane thought is just that—inane. I put words to paper and wonder why I just wasted so many words and so much paper. As I read it over later, I am even more convinced that the time spent writing was lost to me forever. I may as well have spent time counting the grains of sand on the shore, it would have been more productive.
Wondering if the writing is in the utensils rather than in the author, I buy a new writing pad even though my favorite is well established. I try a different color pen, but not a different size point—anyone knows that a Pentel Energel blue 0.5 point is the only pen to use if you want to be a serious writer. I read Elisabeth Elliot or Phillip Yancey for inspiration. I go for a walk in my favorite woods to gain inspiration, in search of my soul.
Why do I write? A man who had just finished a multi-volume tome on an historical figure was asked why he wrote. He answered, “Because I can’t not.” Neither can’t I. I feel an emptiness in my “me” if I do not write. I am most afraid of the times when I do not feel the emptiness.
And I sway between two extremes, that of writing every chance I get because my pen expresses the thoughts of my heart on paper. And the other extreme where my writing would be considered trivial banality by any objective reader (including myself) and I cannot force myself to pick up pen, paper, or keyboard. My friend says that she also “Can’t not write”. Except for those times when, in her words, “I can not.” And it is the fact that she is able to not write that bothers her.
The words on paper express my thoughts but they come from my womb. The writer’s womb that comprises my heart, my soul, my mind…my id as some might say. And like the product of the mother’s womb, the product of my womb is my baby, a part of me that stands apart from me but reveals me to others if they read not only the lines, but between them. One time my writing produces a baby with a body that is perfectly formed, with a wisp of hair and a smile that melts hearts. Other times my baby is built of irregular scraps of plywood and random-length 2×4’s, nailed haphazardly together with pieces parts jutting forth where none belong. It is the same womb, the same pen, and the same paper that produces both. The scary part? Both babies reflect what is going on inside me.
No baby should lie there without comment. “It is so cute!” “He looks just like you.” Or “Look at that smile!” Followed closely by, “No, it is not gas!” My writer’s womb cries out for comment on my “baby”. “You said it so well.” “Now I understand.” “Thank you.” The nicest comment I ever received was from a friend, who was not particularly free with compliments, who said, “Your writing gives words to those of us who cannot express our feelings.”
There it is. My heart on paper. To be read, mulled over, misunderstood, argued with, hated or loved. It is my baby—it is me.