Silence, like before a storm or a crash,
presses on my cheeks as they flush.
Her plump hands, smoothed by years of praying,
touch them gently, while her voice
full of its stern softness
fills with the relief of finally pushing
a growing part of yourself out into the world.
— from “Out of My Mother” by Steven Rydman

I don’t know what I’m pushing out. It feels swirly and chaotic, a thing made of tangles and those lines I used to draw and then color in so that no two dark parts touched but at the corners. It’s beyond language at this point.

That’s the challenge. It is a thing of language – a book is. But right now, when I try to think of the whole thing, it becomes this shape that is ahead of me on the path – a tumbleweed, a badly-rendered monster from a Stephen King movie.

This seems to be my problem again, at this moment in the process, this desire to look ahead, to see where I will be on the path and to imagine myself there with 300 pages of jacketed language in my hands.

So instead, I choose to look in, into the soft, cozy cave that is the place where my words live. The words I have now. I still can’t see very well, but I feel warmth – velvet and velour, heated chocolate fountains, and down pillows on which to rest. This place feels better, more real, less frantic.

This is odd given that with all the life and the lives in these words, a writer could come to believe that this place where the words live should be frenzied and busy, a New York City street turned spontaneous rave. But that is not where I write from. My words – like my peace – come from the softest of things – chenille socks on a cold Autumn morning and a hand placed softly on the cheek. These are the places where I must abide, where I must live with my language and let it slide down to the pen.

Here, home, in me. This peace.