The seagull–he no longer screams, “Mine!”
He makes no sound at all.
I can feel the song inside him, but it’s broken.
I squeeze, but he only creaks, and I don’t see a way to fix him.
I can’t find a battery opening.
He’s a bit like me.
My song feels broken, and my words seem to creak.
I need a new battery.
How do I keep writing?
How do I make words sing in predictably unpredictable days?
With emotions out of balance?
When fatigue outweighs energy, and the only thing symmetrical in my life is the asymmetrical?
When time tumbles by in a sea of unpaid bills and dirty dishes and strewn toys and grandgirls to bathe and evening basketball practices and homework to help with?
This isn’t how it was supposed to be.
At least at my age.
I’m supposed to have a padded bank account and trips to take and extended hours of free time to dream and read and write without distractions.
And watch cooking shows instead of Sesame Street or iCarly.
But maybe I’m, as L.L. says, too stuck on what ought to be.
Or maybe what I think ought to be.
These are my days of the what-is.
The days of the not-mine.
Maybe this is exactly how it ought to be.
And I need to find a song in the midst of browned apple cores on end tables and ink trails on the sofa and toothpaste globs in the sink.
L.L.’s daughter, Sara, wants to teach her grandmother how to play a recorder.
First she teaches her how to hold it.
“How do I make a song?” asks her grandmother.
“First you have to make the sounds, Grandma.”
Maybe that’s what I need to do in my what-is-not-mine days.
If I’m going to keep writing, to make my words sing, I need to hold the moments, record the moments.
I need to simply first make the sounds.
Reflections on Chapters 3 and 4 of L.L. Barkat’s newest book, Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing.