Sometimes I sit and let words spill out, heedless of how they tumble from my heart. My fingers put the letters together, stringing them into sentences, without my notice. I finish, glowing and exhilarated, having translated a thing from my heart- that vast and wild expanse, a world within, full of things that resist being caught and brought out into the harsh light of day- into English, more or less. I hope.
I sit, flushed with joy, and read it. I feel, for a moment, that I have captured it! The letters seem to glow with the flame of life! I am alive, while I write. I am letting the aliveness from my inner world out, onto a page, caught there to be looked at… and read? Doubt comes then… I read it again, and the glow of the letters fade. They are, after all, just black words on white, they can’t really be alive…
A whisper from inside stirs, that vast wilderness of me, and then I know.
There is no way I have brought anything from THAT place to this. And the letters all seem to scramble, to become a pile of bones, lifeless. I put them away. I’ll try again. It’s a thrilling thing to attempt!
Later, I tell someone, “I wrote some words. They’re what I felt.” Because the person loves me I wonder if she wants to see what I felt. “You… could read my words. If you wanted to.” Doubt fills me. She won’t even be able to read them… they seem scrambled to me, now. Silly. Maybe they aren’t even English. I don’t know. “Yes!!!!” She exclaims, excited to see my words. And I am startled.
I send them, and wait. Maybe… maybe they were just for me to have the relief, the thrilling joy, of translating something untranslatable from my heart-world. Of expressing, of BEING. Maybe they aren’t good enough for people to read, to be seen – naked – where they can’t hide. I am afraid. Because even if they are bones, they are mine. They are from inside me and now they cannot hide. Maybe next time I will keep them hidden, just for me. They would be safer not seen.
She has read them. I wait, trying not to care if they weren’t really very good after all. I will not ask because then she will know: I care, very much. Because they are me.
She breaks the silence, startling me from my doubts. She is telling me they are beautiful. MY words are beautiful!!!! That she is awed, dumbfounded by them. Now I am dumbfounded!!!!!!! My words are good? They are in English? They make sense? They’re not silly? They… little gasp of hope… did I capture that heart-thing after all, in words felt and entered into, and not just seen???
She doesn’t know the hope she fans, the glow of joy, and spark of purpose… if she likes them, maybe they are good? Maybe I CAN write?!? I’d like to write. It’s not trapped and awful to write, like other useful things I feel I ought to do. They shrivel my soul, those other things. It’s alive and free, writing is. It’s adventuring. Delving into a world filled with mysteriously evasive feelings, which vanish into thin air at the slightest misstep, and taming them into words. Maybe people want my words. Maybe… I can do something and be good at it, and LOVE it. Something that people need.