What It’s Like To Write

Writing here is sometimes like standing in the middle of a crowded room, peeling off layer after layer of clothing, asking, Do you get me yet? How about now? Or now?

It’s sitting in a confessional and whispering my secrets into the gloom, inhaling the church fug of old incense, furniture polish and a thousand rainy days and exhaling all of my sins.

It’s feeling like a little girl writing a note to their crush, trying desperately to play it cool but ending up with a barely articulate mess of feelings.

It’s sometimes like being pregnant and giving birth to a kitten, while all along I thought I was carrying a baby. And it’s not that I don’t like, maybe even love, the kitten, it’s just not what I set out to make in the first place.

It’s slogging through the morass of possible words, digging in the mud to find the perfect turn of phrase.

It’s realizing that nothing I write will ever be perfect, no matter how obsessively I revise and revise and then revise some more.

It is reading Paulo Coelho and realizing: Perfect is the enemy of good.

Someone posted this poem on Facebook and it’s so exactly right. Every word is like a knife straight through me.

My party piece:
I strike, then from the moment when the matchstick
conjures up its light, to when the brightness moves
beyond its means, and dies, I say the story
of my life

dates and places, torches I carried,
a cast of names and faces, those
who showed me love, or came close,
the changes I made, the lessons I learnt

then somehow still find time to stall and blush
before I’m bitten by the flame, and burnt.

A warning, though, to anyone nursing
an ounce of sadness, anyone alone:
don’t try this on your own; it’s dangerous,
madness.

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