Always, this ache in my heart

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.

17 thoughts on “Always, this ache in my heart

  1. . 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.
    How perfectly put Linda, and many like myself share how you feel. I think…and I am not an expert but…the key is to write madly, insert yourself so deeply into your work until you are part of the fabric and only the right words spring forward. Think of it like Forest Gump running and running, limited by his braces and finally from the sheer determination to run he finds his stride, the braces (your limiting words) fall aside and leaves the purest kind of energy.
    Am not sure where that advice came from but guess what..it is exactly what II needed to hear also! Hang in there and keep writing writing writing.(does that even make sense?

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  2. Linda, what you just described is the quintessential dilemma and struggle of all authors–and above all all great authors. No matter how well a writer masters his or her craft, the most wonderful words, phrases, images are always just a poor substitute for true feelings and real experiences. Ask the most famous and accomplished authors, they’ll all tell you the same. Words can never entirely bridge that gap, recreate that perfect moment or feeling. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons so many authors (or artists in general) commit suicide, become alcoholics or go insane.

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    1. Gee, Christa, suicide, alcoholism, or insanity? Are those my only choices? 😀 I guess I should read more memoirs of the great authors, painters, composers, etc. Or would that just be too discouraging? I mean, I don’t think I want to know that when Michelangelo observed his finished Sistine Chapel ceiling, he said, “Meh, not exactly what I intended.”

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      1. Actually…I read Michelangelo wasn’t all that happy with MANY of his works, especially the Sistine Chapel! At the time, he wanted to sculpt, not paint. The church kept interfering. He spent years of his life on a scaffold. He literally couldn’t see the “big picture!” When I read your post, I ached with you. Then you commented sarcastically, and could picture, “Meh, not exactly what I intended.” LOL It made me think. The reality is, I think most artists and writers feels this way, even the famous ones. They can’t see their own work objectively, even if their work turns out to be a masterpiece. 😉

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        1. Well, Juli, that’s comforting in a way and danged depressing in another. 😉

          Another thought… maybe, like Michelangelo, I don’t feel that I’m doing my best because writing isn’t what I’m best at doing. Uh-oh, I wish that thought had never entered my mind!

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          1. But the writing should be selfish, it should be for your own enjoyment. If you love what you’re doing, it will show in your words. Other people will be attracted to that. All forms of art should be selfish. It’s not about other people, it’s about you. At the end of the day, you have to be able to love yourself, flaws and all. Nobody is perfect. Nobody’s writing is perfect. We have a saying in my family. It gets me through the bad times.

            “It’s not just good, it’s good enough!”

            Sending good thoughts your way!
            Juli

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          2. I agree, Juli, we should write for ourselves. And though I love writing, I don’t enjoy when what I’ve written isn’t what I wanted it to be. The finished piece might be satisfactory or even very good, so readers wouldn’t know that I fell short, only I would. Evidently, I’ve illustrated my point by not saying what I intended to say in my post! 😉

            Your family’s spin on “good enough” is the reverse of mine. To me good enough is settling for less than good … it’s not good, but it’s good enough. It’s passable. (Communication is complicated, isn’t it?)

            In any case, I do appreciate the good thoughts you sent my way. 🙂

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  3. It’s the “body” of an artist’s work that speaks for her in the end. The spirit animates it all. Just keep going with the work before you.

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  4. “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.”

    To me, that’s a beginning to a story ready to be told.

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  5. Linda, you’re speaking for me as well. I know that heartache so closely that everyday I sit down there it is bubbling below the surface, waiting, expecting. I believe it just means write harder, write deeper and never, never quit.

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