Is This What It's All About?

Words don't come as easily as they once did.  And when they do, they arrive fragmented, not because over time they have deteriorated, like those ancient papyrus papers that hold the fragile remains of Sappho's poetries, but because they are born that way, fragments of thought, bites of ideas, slivers of images, all fragile in their newborn way.  Maybe I can teach myself to write again, to rediscover the patience required to sit and sit and sit, to not jump at the slightest distraction, to not become discouraged by silence, to retrain myself to rearrange the fragments, to accept what comes as it does, to learn how to sew again.

Where is the need born, to stitch the random events of our lives into stories?  Why are certain story arcs satisfying, while others make us frustrated? Why is it cruel to end a story before its proper conclusion? Why is it so unacceptable to end without some glimmer of hope or change in a character's disposition?

These are things I've been thinking about, the things that keep me from making a single clear and uninterrupted statement.  Words don't come as easily as they once did.  How easy it is to believe that with practice we become more competent at what we do, how hard it is to accept that this is not always true.

Have I forgotten what it is to play?  Why do we do the things we do?  Does it all come back, as I've heard it said in a film I once saw on public television, does everything we do revolve around reproduction, of patterns, of cycles, of DNA, of ourselves?  Do our stories mirror our desires, the simple desire to love and be loved, to open ourselves up like flowers to the sun?  Does the story arc exist in this form because it mimics sexual encounters?  After all, I've heard it reported once long ago on public radio that when we listen to stories told, our brains release the same chemicals that are released during acts of love which we learned at some point, whether from a book kept under the bed, or a conversation overheard, or a film strip in a shuttered grade school classroom, we learned at some embarrassing point that all of this grows out of an aching need, out of a primal desire, an unalterable indefatigable microscopic drive towards reproduction.

These are the things I've been thinking about, the things that keep me from making a single clear and uninterrupted statement.  Please excuse me.  I've wandered far from where I thought I was going.


  1. Joanna, I love your posts about the difficulty in writing. They are so insightful, honest, and beautifully written. Perhaps you could publish a collection of essays on how difficult it is to write? I would certainly buy it. :)

    1. What a lovely comment to get on a rainy evening! Thank you, Joy! Who knows, maybe there will be a book someday soon.