Much of what I write makes little to no sense at all, at first. Usually, I know what I want to say or write. It's on the tip of my tongue and on the tip of my pen, but as soon as my pen touches the paper, it tries to get away, and the words come out messy and jumbled. They run away and try to hide from me in the recesses of my mind. They try to hide behind memories of people and memories of things that happened to me. They try to blend in with the crowd of thoughts I have about the day's current events, things I read in the news or heard somewhere. They try to make themselves part of that. But I keep writing.
I write until the thoughts run clear. I always encourage my students to do the same thing. It's like the water that comes from an old tap. Rusty and brown at first. And then, if you keep letting it run, it runs out clear enough to drink. but that takes time and patience. And it isn't until the words start to flow more clearly, that I actually come to know what I am thinking. Prior to that, it's all lost in the white noise of my head and really makes no sense at all.
"What are you thinking," someone asks. And as soon as I start to answer, I realize I have absolutely no idea, even though it seems so clear in my mind's eye. But when I try to bring the thought into consciousness, try to breathe real life into them, I find they are rusty water and I sound quite idiotic.
My notebooks are filled with a lot of rusty water and a bit of clear water, but it's all water. And water is life. And so are our thoughts, our stories. We are nothing without them. We cannot explain what has happened or what we hope will happen without them. We cannot say who we are or who we wish to be. They are our hope and our dismay. They are symbols of our pleasure and pain. They are our feelings. We cannot feel without words to tell us what to feel and why we are compelled to feel.
Words are life.
So often I hear people ask how I find the words. How do I not find them? They are wreaking havoc, fighting for space and a place in my mind. I have to let them out. I wonder if the minds of others are quiet. My mind has never been quiet. There's constant chattering, murmuring, so much talking all at once, ideas and thoughts colliding. I mean, they try to get away, but I go after them. It's either them or me.