Sometimes you know people, but you don’t really KNOW people. . . Erin Block is one of those people for me. I knew her when a guitar was her constant companion and her hair cascaded down her back; I knew her what seems like a lifetime ago. Now, I know her as a woman walking tall through some of life’s biggest struggles. And I know her as a writer. . . one whose words whisper of clarity that will come later. . . as you’ll see.
Life fell through the bottom of the truth. It was that feeling when, just before sleep, youâ€™re jolted awake. Arms flail, legs windmill, and you can’t do a blasted thing to stop yourself. Except…you can wake up. Consciousness, your savior. But mind has to catch up with body, and when finally it does, for a few moments, you are lost. Completely lost. Understandably disillusioned from the bottom falling out…but still, you don’t understand.
Yet that is my dream. Sure, there are the dreams of a successful career, a good gut, a garden full of greens, a hand dug cellar of wine, a library that smells like old pipes, and a love which grows every day…each night establishing old roots and sending out new shoots.
Of these things I dream. Of late, some Iâ€™ve been given…
But really? I want to understand. I want to know. I want to find the answer to the eternal why? I am curious (and yes, I am well aware of the proverb about this character trait and cats — oh yes, and death as well). Yet, the basis of life is to know…to need to. And writing is how I understand, it’s how I fill that base need, and through it is how I live my dreams. Some people need to talk to a close friend. I need to write on this strange slate, glowing white in a black frame. It is how I realize my dreams…the ones I want to live, and the mares I want to only ride through the night’s narration once, with hopes that the morning pasture’s gate was left open. Wide open. These, the only things I hope lose themselves before I am lost in them, again.
Writing is a puzzle, persistent in crossing my mind (and sometimes my eyes, lacing a headache). There are spaces I can’t fill in quite yet, and there are words I just don’t know. This bothers me. It makes me feel stupid. Inept. I should know…I was taught to know, I ought to know. I need to have patience though, I tell myself; patience with me and with my answers. And I do. I do have patience. But, it manifests in a sort of self flagellation, through scraping off the day’s layers before they solidify into cerebral crustings — my joys, anger, frustrations, and relief — turn into heat, venting my thoughts. Sometimes the air is stale. Sometimes, it’s hard to breathe…the self’s stench can be hard to swallow.
Then again, sometimes it’s fresh; while at the same time, familiar. Like the childhood memories of farm ponds and horse manure I’ve smelled my entire life, even from a citified distance at times. Now, my nose has led me to the right place, a rural place, smelling of home. It has dragged me through lots of mud and a few barbed wire fences, but still…
…the right place, led to through writing. And that? That smells good, and that is living my dream.
Erin Block lives in the mountains of Colorado with her dog Banjo, works as a librarian, and does her best not to follow recipes or properly trod-down paths too closely. You can read more of her writing on her blog, Mysteries Internal/.
– Erin Block