Letting the Words Choose Me

After dinner and before the time my head typically hits the pillow, those are the free moments. No work. No homeschool. No dishes. No dog. Just me and whatever I care to do. Last night, I chose to write.

After an hour of clicking keys I had, perhaps, five hundred uninspired, desperate words and a puddle of tears. I chose the words instead of letting them choose me.

Some writers make time for the words to come and that’s how it goes. There’s no right or wrong formula for writing, only personal proclivities and quirks. I am a writer that needs to make time for the thoughts and the dreams. The words will come when they come, but they never come until I’ve set my mind free.

But you see, these days I’ve caught the busy. It’s like some sort of communicable disease that we’ve all collectively decided to infect ourselves with. Work, school, housework, workouts, the children and all their structured activities. Every hour allotted for, every second devoured by busyness. It’s gross. To me.

I never really had a problem with busyness. Loafing comes as easily as autonomic breath for me. But I’m working now and I don’t know where it all fits. I caught the sick. I’ve let myself get busy.

I’ve struggled, as of late, to find my words or even the will to want to find them. Because I got too busy and I forgot to give my brain a moment of silence to let the words find me.

When you’re a writer, not finding the words feels urgent, frantic. Like death is likely soon to beat at your door. It’s dark. It looks like failure and smells like regret. The overwhelming ‘you will never return from this’ shadow has come to swallow you whole.

Then I remembered, I’d just let myself get too busy. I had the ick.

On this night, the next night, the one after the puddle of tears, I was supposed to be at a party. It was an invitation I’d accepted then declined earlier in the week. I felt guilty for reneging on a bet. I thought I might lie to avoid admitting what felt like weakness.

I needed to come up with some great story because, surely, it couldn’t be that I’d just let myself get overwhelmed with busy. That would make me fragile and inferior. But, instead of the lie, I chose to say simply, “I’m sorry. I just can’t.” No was the beginning and end of that story.

In place of that party, I put a blanket in the sun and stole 20 minutes for myself. I let the lawn cradle my bare feet. I listened to the wind and watched the clouds lazily drift in the river of sky above me. As my mind got quiet, the busyness started to die and finally the words could choose me.

The busier I get, the emptier I feel .

I’m tired of feeling empty, of failing to lay out a blanket where the words will come. Busyness is new to me and I’ve found we don’t pair well. Our relationship is a bit one-sided. Busyness feasts on my insides and leaves me for dead. And yet I ask for it again and again.

It’s too simple to choose busy these days. We are living just to survive. Now I know no is the cure, even if for a few brief moments. A blanket in the grass. A river of sky. A quiet brain for me and for the words that no longer have to hide.