Languages rise and fall around me in the coffee shop as I read too-beautiful words and long desperately to be filled by them until they’re all that’s left.
Until I’m consumed.
Some people write as if their words just flow from them, unbidden and easy, and I don’t understand. I’m jealous. I can only write like that sometimes, not consistently. My words come slowly most of the time, as if forced from me.
There are some days, after reading certain authors–J.C. Geiger, Laini Taylor, Holly Black–that my writings spill from me like from a cup reaching its overflow, but most of the time they are just words.
Most of the time, they lack the shine, and my descriptions fall away, skittering into the recesses of my mind. Everything sounds the same no matter what I do. I have so little faith in my own writing, my own voice, and I wish it could be different. I wish I could always be filled with those words that glow from within. I wish it could always be like this, writing words that come like a waterfall I can’t stop, but it only happens at random times–when I’m at work, or it’s three in the morning and I’m too tired to open my laptop. Or when I’ve been filled up with shimmering sentences that glisten in my mind like polished emeralds until all I can think of are underwater forest with branches trembling in the currents and blind street musicians in Prague who flick at halo drums with practiced fingers.
I only have three settings when it comes to writing. The first setting is Overflow, also known as Writer’s Overdrive–this unending stream, a feeling like I can’t stop the words, like if I don’t write they’ll just explode out of me and into flowing streams of dandelions yellow with summer sunshine. There’s an Itch within that I can’t quite scratch unless I write until I can’t anymore.
The second setting is Normal. The words come, my usual voice, and they’re fine. They work together, but they’re nothing bright. Nothing special. The stream is steady and normal and just okay.
The third setting is the worst, and I call it Blocked–when the words come out all wrong, cluttering around in cumbersome ways that don’t quite fit together, and I end up hitting the backspace key more than anything. It’s as if the stream inside me has been dammed up, letting out only a pathetic trickle that barely even brings the stream up to its natural height. If I don’t read, this is where I find myself.
I said once that I don’t trust writers who don’t read, because anyone who has stories clawing their way out of them must want to be filled with them in equal measure. This remains true. Without stories, without word to fill me back up when my stream runs low, I would never experience the Overflow. I would never even get myself to Normal.
Music sometimes brings about the Overflow. Artists like Florence + the Machine and Benjamin Francis Leftwich, and instrumentals like movie scores full of sighing stringed instruments and french horns and flutes whistling notes on a soft spring morning. But it’s not always. Sometimes I listen to this music, and the Block is still there, or I’m just Normal. The Overflow doesn’t have a quota–it comes and goes when it wants, without notice, and I am left flailing in the aftermath.
Wishing for beautiful words.