Sometimes I’m struck by the dissociation between the need to write and the ability to write. Some verbally constipated days I sit down at the keyboard with a clear idea of what I want to say but, try as I may, the words don’t come. Or, on other days, they clatter onto the page like jackpot coins from a fruit machine, in riotous cacophony, tripping and tumbling. On some days the words run in measured meter beside me, jogging comfortably in my stride. On other days they weave and twist around me, sinuous musk-perfumed lovers, teasing and playing in the night. Sometimes words are bold, brazen, sassy and obvious. Funky words, big bass words, power chords of twang kerrang. Sometimes they are evening larks, shimmying in the sunset.

Words are me and words are what I do. They are my daily bread and my nightly jam. They are prescriptive, descriptive, seductive and deductive. They find a path through the wilderness. They lead me into trouble. They are my best friends and my worst critics. They are a source of confusion and a spangle of clarity. They are life. They are death and all stations in between.

Sometimes, like the currency they are, I am thrifty, spending each reluctantly, clicking shut the purse. Other times, like a lottery winner, I stand and throw notes to the wind. Sometimes the words are static, lumpen globs on the page, like my granny’s butter bean dip. Sometimes they splash like Chablis, cascading in tiny droplets round the world.

Words lift me when I’m sad, comfort me when I’m bad, sing with me when I’m glad and taunt me when I’m mad. Words climb mountains in the snow and are warm sand between my toes. They are the flickering tallow by my bedside and the lantern in the porch. They are the ghost candles in the cemetery and the hand of glory.

They are the threads of life, the tapestry of time, the voice of my friends and the whispers of lovers. They were the first things I heard and will be the last things I utter. They are the tortured path through my desktop’s clutter.

Words

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