I’ve set my novel aside for just a little while to write some short stories. I traded in the cello for the fiddle and banjo because Bluegrass music better sets the mood for the latest few stories I’ve worked on. Then again, that music fits my mood no matter what I’m writing for another reason—the underlying heartache.
There’s heartache behind everything I write. This past year has been one of the hardest of my real life, but I’m not referring to that heartache. I don’t write about that. I write to forget that. The heartache I refer to is not in my life or even in my writing. It’s for my writing.
Each time I begin a story, I hope this will be The One. This will be the story written so beautifully I’ll amaze myself. This will be the story that captures my true feelings, my true thoughts, my heart.
Frustrated, I watch the hope melt away as I write, never quite managing to put the words I feel on paper. I type ghosts, gossamer imitations, words of gauze. The story flows from my heart a rich, full-bodied cabernet, but seeps from my brain a cheap, watery plonk.
Because some of what I’ve written has pleased others, I try to convince myself to be satisfied with that, but among the thousands of words I write, I see phrases, a sentence, perhaps a paragraph, that hint of what the whole could be, if only I knew how to fully open that connection from heart to brain.
Those diamonds among the rhinestones haunt me. This is not my perfectionism rearing its ugly head. I’m disappointed, not because I didn’t always choose the perfect words, but because I didn’t convey what I intended with those words, perfect or imperfect.
I know what’s in my heart and I believe it’s possible to release that. So, I can only write and write and write until the words flow unimpeded, powerful, and pure. Until then, there’s an ache in my heart.