Thursday, May 18, 2006

broken chords and rusty strings

Every time I make a pronouncement of any kind, it takes me all of twenty-five seconds to reverse it. I have not been writing because I have no time. I have not been writing because I have nothing to write about right now. I have not been writing because I have had to write something for The Goal, and I am trying to channel everything into that.

All of these are true, and yet, in twenty-five seconds, I find another realization that trumps the other reasons. Words are clunky and clanging right now. Words are not flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup. Sometimes you write a sentence and you just feel satisfied with having constructed it, with having it say exactly what you meant it to say.

Every word that has been put down for the last month refuses to assemble into a satisfying sentence. I am making my own skin crawl, reviewing what I have put down. Reading my writing lately has made me cringe, almost as much as I cringe when I watch Jodie Foster rapping.

In this space, I can forgive myself that though. Here, I can keep putting down unruly words until they finally manage to find the right thread to string them into a necklace. Here, I can play all the dissonant notes until the guitar is eventually tuned for a simple ditty. But I have fallen victim to a classic blunder. I have allowed the result to distract me from the process.

I think I may be placing such weight on what I need to do that I have distracted myself from actually doing it. Last weekend, when I was cramming, I could feel my mind drifting to forward-looking thoughts- will I do well in this class, is this going to be enough to achieve The Goal, is this all for nothing, do I know what I'm getting into. The questions drifted my head away from my books. The drill sergeant in my head had to step in and bark: concentrate, Daniel-San!

It is the same problem now, but now it is with words. I have to let go of how momentous those words are, how much they control my fate, and just focus on making the words work. Mr. Miyagi would come in handy right about now.

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