My fingernails have grown out and I am quite pleased with the clicketty clack sounds they make whilst tapping and scratching all over the keyboard keys as I type.
Sharp lengthy nails aren’t always me but for now they feel like a much needed change from the cropped stubs I usually keep super short and chewed upon.
As the clock ticks on and I drain my coffee cup for the second time, I am thinking about the telling of stories and how a narrator – if she wants to be in the least bit compelling – must first choose the self from which she will speak.
To achieve intimacy, the depth of experience she wishes to convey, she must remain loyal to two critical elements throughout the telling of her story: who she is and why she is speaking.
It’s the who she is which can be entirely problematic, and yet also fully stimulating. In fact, it could be that if a writer cannot decide on who she must be in the telling of her particular story then she will not be able to tell the story at all.
With no self in which to anchor the narrative, the story will not hold together. Without that central pillar of cohesion, everything falls apart.
Knowing who you are, it would seem, is what gives you voice.
This is also the part of writing which compels me most of all to write. The siren call of the self I cannot be anywhere else except on the page. The self who runs barefoot through the depths of the forests of dreams.
The self who is nothing to anyone. Who owes nothing. Who has nothing to lose but worlds and worlds to create. Who is not married or employed or mothering or daughtering or tied in any way to the expectations of, or commitments to, others.
Part of the beauty of this kind of intimacy with the words is that you do not need to cover up or shy away from mixed emotions or complicated, messy, ugly, harsh, or difficult feelings.
Those paradoxes are exactly where you enter the scene, they are your way in.
Who is speaking, and why. This is the first decision. The choosing of the persona, the particular self you must be in relation to the story you wish to tell. The experience you wish to create within your reader.
And there, in that deep wide dark space, I am always and must always remain alone. In the silence of the mind, selections are made.
What to reveal, what not to reveal.
What to tell, what not to tell.
And I cannot help but wonder, is it the writing which intimidates the aspiring writer. Or is it that in order to write, one must make a choice, one story at a time, of who to be, how to see, how to approach and move about.
When there are so many selves from which to choose, how do you know which is the right one for the moment?
It’s a gamble. It’s a dare. An invitation. A chance. To be everything you dreamed you could be. To be bigger. Wilder.
Someone else entirely. Just for a bit, the self you are dying to be.
Clicketty clack, clicketty clack . . .
Photo by Ann Danilina