Thursday, November 29, 2007

Word Slinger

I didn't sleep much last night. It's not often that I find myself so restless, but once in a while it seems as though the words just come at me without mercy. The ability to arrange these symbols - these letters and punctuation marks - in a way that makes some sense is both a blessing and a curse. There are too many times when I am just not into it. But the words keep coming and if I don't transmit them to writing, there is no rest.

Human beings are unique in that we have the ability to recognize - and question - our own existence. Dogs don't. Monkeys don't. Even whales, as far as we can tell, don't. Only we are gifted with the ability to torment ourselves so completely. When disassembled, the "big question" is really nothing more than an infinite number of little questions. What is my purpose? What makes one thing right and another wrong? What is love and why do I need it? Good questions all, and all but impossible to answer. Yet philosophers, clerics, seekers of wisdom and just about everyone else have ventured out on a personal quest for truth. Or a quest for personal truth.

In some respects, we are far more knowledgeable than ever before. Science has solved many of the mysteries of the world, but there are still some that cannot be answered. Why do people do what they do? What are we driven by? Is there anything else? At times it seems as though the answers are just out of reach. Last night and in the small hours of this morning, I almost had a grasp of it. Maybe not the answer, but at least I had some insight to what might have been a path toward an answer. The words were flying at me. I collected them and stored them, meaning to record them later…

And later never came. Although my exhaustion is partially physical, much of it is due to wasted mental, emotional and perhaps even spiritual energy. I should have dragged myself out of bed and wrote - it is, after all, what I do. I should have poured the words out as they came, letting a fabric of understanding take shape. It is the method to the madness and I know it. But there are times when the burden is too great. There are times when I might not want to know what is coming to me and I resist. These words are a feeble attempt at seeking relief that will not come.

I never wanted to be a writer. Of all the talents that I could have been graced with, writing was not anywhere near the top of my list. It is, however, mine. It took a very long time to recognize it and even longer to embrace it. Often the words are known… I get the story and then re-tell it. There is a path, a beginning, middle and an end. But when the words come from out of nowhere, I never know what will appear before me until it's there. It's like magic.


BarbaraFromCalifornia said...


You are blessed with a gift for words.

That being said, I know, too, that this can be a great blessing or a terrible curse. For the moment, let us now worry about labels, and just write.

Enjoy the day.

kenju said...

You are definitely blessed, Mike, and we are the better for it.

mckay said...

as babs and kenju both say, you are blessed...but even more so, so are we.

thanks, sammy.