Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Gift

For years there was no movement atop my desk, only smoke swirled above the clod of words which lay like pretzels in a bowl, pointing this way and that without purpose, salty grammatical pick up sticks patiently waiting for someone to grab a handful and throw them down. For years, I'd dabbled, scribbled, plopped and otherwise spewed portions of thoughts; a never ending line of half developed ducks in a row, a nervous twitch of creative energy, a series of great glops of chocolate pudding. 

And then I found a channel, a funnel, a floor drain in which to pour gallons of babble so as to clear space for the next incoming tide from the pretzel stick sea. I am now released, I am thankful. I am amazingly verbose and yet, here I can be. 

I have come upon a space in which I can store my most colorful goo; I've been handed the keys to a warehouse wherein walls of named pigeonholes direct me to place each of my jumbled ideas into its own neat little box. I've also on occasion been given the benefit of a stranger's creative direction, an expensive commodity in most circles, and yet in this place it didn't cost me a dime. I wonder how many realize what a gift it is.

For years I'd wanted to write, yet lacked the will. Yep, I wrote lyric on demand, but that wasn't really writing, that was simply serving up syllabic mathematics with a side of rhyme. Yet it exhausted me creatively; I'd always sucked at math, and I'd always hated spinning chicken shit into chicken salad, so when I was directed to combine the two for cash and prizes.... I did it in spite of the fact that I found just as much to hate in the process as love. Everybody's gotta do something. There was nothing else I was good at beyond lifting bales and toting barges and let's get real, nobody really WANTS to be a laborer; not even undocumented workers who would trade chucking melons into boxes for an air conditioned office desk job paying five times the wage in the blink of an eye and anyone who thinks otherwise is a moron in self denial. 

Of course I'm off track, as is the custom. The point here was about a process called prompt writing. Prompt writing "made" me a writer. 

I just wandered into a prompt writing group. It looked interesting, that a group of strangers would gather to show off to each other, to play off each others' ideas, to try and show interest in another's works, as they would love others to show interest in their own.

I had one writer friend in my life. He was not a fan of writing. He was good at it, great in fact if his clients were asked. But he considered writing a job, not a passion. His voice was always in the back of my head whenever I considered writing as a "hobby". As audio engineering required "equipment" whose expense eventually drove me from my career, writing required "audience" unless the author spent most of his or her time in that three cubic foot air space some like to see as their "universe".

But then I found this place where people were nearly "obliged" to be an audience. I mean obliged in a good way of course, like being nice to your sister is an obligation but you kinda do it because you know you should and because you have a better chance of her being nice to you.

As for the prompts, I don't really NEED one; it's not like a gazzilion ideas don't go through my head already 24/7. But I could make it into more a game than it already was. I spent most of my time in determining what would be the "oddest" interpretation of a word or phrase. That was the challenge; to see "Molten Ire" as a fiery woman's hair, or to see "gauze lies" as a courtroom with "gauze" as a witness for the prosecution in a "scissors" murder trial.

Not that my eternity is all that long anymore, I will be eternally grateful for that moment of serendipity, that I just happened onto an internet social network 14 years ago, and then in a fit of boredom entered the word "writing" into an internal search engine and found a group called "Write On This". I had thought my outlet for creativity was dying, that as my career waned and extinguished, so too would my reasons to let out all the daydreamy crapola that scuttles around in my all too shiny baubled brain.

Some days I still wonder, maybe this was always just about finding more ways to avoid responsibility, to dodge work, to ignore reality; and maybe I should quit doing it and move on to something more "worthwhile" like building birdhouses for indigent cedar waxwings. But whether I do or don't, I've had a grand time with this text love thing. It's been one of the few shining moments of my time on the planet, and for those very few who have supported my efforts, encouraged me and given me more than what I ever deserved of their attentions since the beginning, no doubt I've said it before and it may get boring to hear again and again, but I owe you for becoming a big part of my life, and for putting an all too seldom experienced smile on an old and tired curmudgeon's face.


  1. I'm very pleased to have met you through at least one prompt community :)