Some nights the words scream through my dreams. I have to get up and let them out or my skull will explode with the pressure. Sometimes my fingers move like a blur on the keyboard, the friction of my pace enough to make me wonder if my hands will ignite in flames.
Other days I can’t hang on to my thoughts. They dance ephemerally out of my reach. They burn me when I try to reign them in and limit their greatness on a mere page.
There are days when I’m too tired to chase them, but my lungs burn with my need to capture the ideas. I rant at my inability to confine the flame.
I sink to floor and want to die because everything I do only extinguishes the passion of the idea. I can feel the heat of the concepts warming my skin, making my body sweat with the impossible closeness of it all that can’t be expressed.
The right words don’t come.
I sit at my desk and my glare burns holes through my hands, trying to make the words create a spark that simply won’t.
I leave my desk and grab pen and paper, looking for a new way to fuel my story. Does it work if I stack them like this? Is there enough air to feed it? Is the sentence too long and drowns the heat of it? Sometimes more words dance on the page, like fire rising up and writhing sinuously in the air. Stay close to it. Embrace the energy, but don’t let it burn you.
Sometimes my pen taps at the blank page. What am I doing wrong? Why won’t this flame burn?
I can feel the words pulsing inside. All it needs is the right spark to get out. I can feel the ideas running rampant, hungry for recognition and desperate to jump out of bounds. Keep it contained – but don’t starve it. The flame winks out.
No, no, no, NO!
The fuel is soggy and caked in moss. Ideas can’t burn into their full promise of a flame here. But over there it’s too dry – nothing will burn because there is nothing to feed the flame. Where is the right place? Remember what you need for fire – fuel to burn, heat created by excited atoms that can be encouraged by something as tiny as a little friction or a seemingly benign chemical reaction.
There is no friction. I’ve no chemicals to bring together to create an explosive reaction. The words don’t rub each other the right way. I’ve plenty of kindling but there’s no spark to bring it crackling, roaring, breathing , flaming into life.
A match strikes and smolders, but doesn’t ignite into the tiny seed of potential.
I pray for lightening. The sky is gorgeously clear, mocking me and my selfish desires.
I could leave. I could find somewhere new. Perhaps the ideas would burn into reality more readily elsewhere? Perhaps I can seek them out and cut new firewood and encourage the fire to burn, but gently. That would work, wouldn’t it?
No. No funds to seek out new sources. No time in the schedule to squeeze in a few days or weeks for such a mission. I need to be able to go and not worry about destinations, just follow my heart and listen to my soul when I need to without worrying about burning someone else’s delicate sensibilities.
There has to be a way. The ideas have to burn within me so I can truly feel their power. I can just feel them. I can just feel the right words at the tipping point of combustion and inactivity, potential trapped inside because the right components haven’t assembled.
Another match that sizzles and fizzles out. Gently blow air, breathe your life into it. The flame catches for a moment and a thrill runs through me. Yes. Now add a little more to burn, not too much or you’ll choke it. Not too little or it will starve. Do it wrong either way and it turns to ashes.
At night I go over the scenes in my head. Just relax, let the idea play out as it wants to – don’t force it. Just let the fire burn as it needs to.
Old methods are remembered. Flame dances beautiful and high for a moment. Excited, I feed them as best as I’m able, but I’m doing something wrong – the flame is shrinking again and my best efforts are worth nothing and less.
Dammit, dammit, dammit.
What happens if I ignore the fire? What if I concentrate on something else? Things can be built, items made, wood cut and carved, wool spun, fabric cut to pattern. So many projects on the list that haven’t been completed in part because I’d been entranced by the flames as they illuminated my soul, reuniting me with something primal that was awake and alive.
Now the flame won’t burn. Now if I stir the coals I see tiny embers that taunt me, but extinguish when I try to fan them to life.
I can work on other things. I can show the gods they don’t matter, I can create in other ways. The ideas burst forth with beads and string and paper and…
In some ways it feels cold.
Ignore the words. Don’t look, don’t look. Pretend the words aren’t important to an idea like a girl trying to get over being jilted by her lover.
Will it work?