Putting pen to paper feels basic, primitive, just me using the cave wall to make sense of the terrible and wonderful world outside. There is so much out there. The possibilities stagger me.
These words are my vitality expressed through my right hand. They are electric signals, the soul's coded broadcast, searching for another who understands. I want my readers to know me intimately, and I want to be intimate with those who meet an arbitrary standard, which is probably wholly unnecessary, but nonetheless there.
This intimacy refreshes my words, giving me a new physical vocabulary -- the rough edges soften, the contrasts shimmer, everything bathes in a new light. There are more textures and temperatures and playful moments.
My children, the words, play from line to line. They are like me, and I hope they grow better than me. They swing together with innocent curiosity, asking what each other means. They laugh about common letters in constant joyful discovery. They ask inappropriate questions and questions that require an honest answer.
Editing means their death, cruel and objective. The word is here, then the word is not. It dies for a reason, and it will not come back, at least not how we knew it, how we loved it. I kill it with my hand, a black strikethrough, nothing noble about it, just human. It's an act of brutality. Why?
I don't know. It's easier to delete on a computer. There's no body. But the word processor (yes, this) processes words as the meat processor does meat, squeezing them into uniform shapes for sale to the undiscerning masses.
"Good words," they say with a mouth full of them.
"You got an 'r' stuck between your teeth," I say.
The word processor is a cold exact machine that does not allow the letters to touch. In touch there is warmth and humanity and imperfection. In touch there is tenderness -- a balm for a world that sometimes seems bent on wounding us as we try to share.
Perfection bores me. I need a challenge. Imperfection makes something worth reading, worth anything. Imperfections, when seen as beautiful, create love, shards of love, weaponized love. Certain unscrupulous people (though not all unscrupulous people) use this weapon to imprison, and the prisoner doesn't even want to escape.
Words have power: the ability to generate emotion, to inspire, to alter the mind, however temporarily. It is important that they be used responsibly and cared for.
Labels: craft of writing, from the notebooks