I am trying to catch words for this post--an opening hook or a central idea, a turn of phrase that curls and presses into my tongue and throat like a friendly, neighborhood, beneficial tapeworm. But each flicker I see--fish moving below the surface, the sun glinting off their mercuried backs--is too quick to catch. I seem to have it, but at the last instant it slides away and back and down.
I have read other people's words tonight, hoping to find some to snare and steal. I have wandered down other people's stories or tripped over their grammar, and neither has produced that glint, the certainty that looks straight through the blank whiteness of an empty page, already seeing the words that will be fruitful and multiply.
And that, at the end of the day, is what I want: words that pour and froth and flow, words that create more words almost unaided. The soundtrack of a writer on a roll: the flackering sound of keys falling hard upon themselves or the manic scrape of pen and paper over the slide of the palm. The satisfaction of needing a second page--feeling the curl and roll under your fingers or seeing the new screen flash out below like a well-lit lunar field, empty and perfect and in need of footprints.
I wonder which I value more--the words themselves (the stories and epiphanies and secrets) or the feeling I have putting them down. The sigh at finding the right closing line. The way my tongue sneaks out of the corner of my mouth as I desperately flit through my mental files to choose "implore" over "ask." My smirk when I choose to make up a word rather than choose a perfectly good real one.
And the finality--clicking "Publish," or pressing the notebook closed. The knowledge that this is work I have done. And the knowing that the same work--same and different--will still be waiting, waiting again, tomorrow.