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The Words

July 31, 2010

Sometimes the words come spilling out, streaming faster than fingers can type or faster than the wrist can turn.  I pull over into a southbound rest stop because the words can’t wait for the exit, for the long drive home.  I spend the afternoon in a coffee shop because the words lose their way in Saturday afternoon errands, in the chitter-chatter of crowded stores, in the florescent lighting of the soap aisle.  Rushing, flowing, carving out new streams or faithfully following river beds already made, the words don’t stop, so I stop for them.

Sometimes I wait, to say all the things I want to say, I need to say.  I wait until I have that invitation, that assurance that whatever I say, it’s ready to be heard.  By then the words are already sorted, lined up, ready to be rolled out.  Practiced, rehearsed, seasoned.  They hit every step, every note, every beat.  Not effortlessly, but with ease, only because these words were birthed for this emergence.  They march forth, nod in my direction, hit their mark, and settle in.  Assured that they will accomplish what they must, I stand aside and watch with certainty and confidence.

Sometimes the words are heavy, stubborn, dead-weight.  I can’t pick them up and move them.  So I drag them.  Out.  Into.  The.  Open.  Where they sit.  And pout.  I shove and kick and throw all of my body weight against them.  And they refuse to move.  So I rub them down, try to smooth their rugged sides, praise their weight, their stature, their strength. Slowly, calmly, sincerely, I try to relax each word, coax it to its place, show it how to trust its surroundings.  These words still don’t budge.  The sit.  And look at me sideways.  So I throw myself to the ground in a grand gesture of defeat and exhaustion, let out a single shrill screech, and then let them be.  When they are the important ones, I let them be.  Unpolished, rough, and grainy, they sit there out in the open, untouched and important.

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