This week is a break from teaching. Lessons will resume next week and will be the last one for this year. I’m looking forward to my Christmas + NY break. I want to do more reading and maybe finish up some drafts. Maybe.
It’s a Wednesday, I’m lying in bed.
With my back half propped up by a pillow, laptop resting on my crossed leg, I desperately try to find the words for the thoughts stirring in my head about this one poem from Dog Songs, a poetry collection by Mary Oliver. I’ve been at it since the beginning of the week. I even went out and tried to find some way to refresh my mind, maybe then the “right” words will come. But, nada. Nothing. I ended up feeling restless and sleepy. Ugh.
Have you ever played Scrabble? I mean, of course, I think most of you have. You know when you try to form a good word in the game with using the only 7 tiles in your hand? A good word being at least 4 letters, with high-valued tiles, and hopefully placing it on the squares of the board that has multipliers, and you search and try to make it fit to the words and letters that are already on the board. But, it just doesn’t work with the tiles that you have. And so, you settle with your safe 3-letter words instead: too, and, tea, ate, eat, the, tie. I mean, if you’re lucky enough to have those letters. Worse, you could probably just form 2-letter words: to, by, if at, in, my, of, hi, on, etc.
That’s what I’m feeling with my writing right now. I want to form good words, but I am limited with the tiles that I have. I lack so much. So I settle, I make use with what I can do, with what I have.
I lack so much more to even become a good enough writer. I know I have to learn more.
I want to be able to write passages that, as I read it, it will be like musical phrases played in a beautiful legato – smooth and connected. I want to employ fun rhythm in my lines, and master dynamics – to know when my words need to be loud, and when it needs to be soft. Most of all, to know when to pause, rest, or stop, where I should.
Huh. I just realized how much alike writing is to composing and playing music.
But similar to how I feel about playing music, I am scared to commit mistakes. It always feels so unnerving to perform, to put forth something from myself–from within, and let it be seen by others. Will they sympathize with me? Will they laugh with me, or at me? Will they understand?
When I decided to stop playing music, it was because I was scared that people would see how inept I was, how lacking I was as a musician, and that I will never be good enough. To have those thoughts in addition to the expectations my family had of me, it was too much. So, I stopped. I couldn’t handle the pressure, the anxiety, the embarassment of failing, again and again.
Now I ask myself, will I be doing that with my writing as well?
I don’t know. Time will tell. But I want to believe that I am fighting back this time, as I continue to write these words.
If I do not allow myself to make mistakes, I won’t be able to learn from them.
You know what, mistakes be damned!
The world is wide enough to hold my imperfections, even more so, a room for me to grow in.
All I have to do is to claim that space as my own.
But am I brave enough to do that? This time?
I don’t know. I will try.
I need to.
I have to.