I look at them, the 22 folders that hold the 22 chapters of my book, and my chest tightens. Not with pride. Not with accomplishment. But with that kind of terror that only comes when you have no idea what you are doing.
I wrote all these pages plus a hundred more. I know these stories. I know these people.
What I don’t know is how to imbue these stories with the power and depth that I feel pressing against the inside of my sternum?
Language fails us so often, and yet it is our best, our strongest tool for sharing our stories. There is precision in words, the sharpness of a scalpel and the warmth of a sheep’s wool. Yet, still, it does not – even at it’s best – capture what stirs in our spirits and minds.
Somehow in the translation (for I see all writing as translation), our throats, our tongues, our teeth, our lips change these stories as they travel from our chest. I suppose that’s part of the art, but sometimes, just sometimes, it feels like a tainting.
If I had my way, writing would be like the pouring of a bronze sculpture. I would take my words and tip them into the part of me that carries these stories; all that molten fire just tumbling down my throat. Then I could crack myself away to find them preserved, perfect, durable.
But of course, the mold first has to be cast, and even the most perfect pour can have flaws. Still, though, today, breaking myself away from the story – that seems like it would be easier.
What does it feel like for you to write?