How my ideas and taffy seem to have a lot in common. Published on www.shadowexpress.com
|The house was too quiet. After 15 years of utter chaos, my children were all in school, leaving me at home in the blessed silence of the empty house. Finally, I had a few precious hours to myself and I planned to use them. But as I again took up my pen, the silence was all I could hear. That and the pounding onslaught of a thousand thoughts that had been lulled to sleep by the music of home and family. They danced and darted through my mind, teasing me with their quick wit and clever insight; only to dash away again before I could catch them and imprison them forever on the pages of time.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to write. I found joy in creating new ways of describing old ideas and expressing emotions. It filled a need in me and I was forever looking for classes to take, contests to enter, magazines and newspapers at school to work on, and stories and poems to write. It was a part of me. And the words flowed freely from my pen. They slid like liquid and oozed into place. It seemed effortless. Writing was my dream.
But my pen was still. And the house was too quiet. And I didn’t know how I could possibly process the wave of ideas and emotions that were assaulting me. I then realized the problem. Unlike a lot of writers, I am first and foremost a verbal processor. I must talk through my thought process to determine my direction and opinions on any given subject.
My thoughts start out as all thoughts do. Simple. Unoriginal. Bland. Like a piece of old taffy, I have a thought pop into my head. It is a subject that has been pondered by everyone for centuries. It is not new to the ages and in fact not even new to me. But, alas it is in front of me so I pick it up and weigh it. As I turn it over and around and up and down, I find the heat of my thoughts, like my hand, has made the candy more pliable and I am able to mold it in new ways that perhaps haven’t been seen in many years. I can pinch it and even stretch it a little and at this point the hard candy that was an unoriginal, old, trite subject has become an interesting shape and form and I have found something I can contour with words. But yet, it never seems to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Because I want to talk I have to speak the words and taste their flavor before I write them down. If they are not sweet enough the recipe is ruined and the taffy is not pliable. How much more I can do with that taffy when there are two hands to stretch and fold it. The ideas flow more freely, come more quickly, and are formed more solidly when I talk them out. You see, taffy is delicate, if you don’t turn the crank fast enough it falls, and then it just turns into something sweet with no shape. I enjoy talking to people, discussing ideas and getting their feedback, otherwise, all I’m left with is a bowl full of misshapen candy in a dusty dish.
I love to write. I will always be a writer. But it’s the people I talk and share with that make it worth the effort. And so, I wait eagerly for my children to come home. Because the house is too quiet.