The Process

      16 Comments on The Process
The Process

The Process

I tear my chest open to give my heart a chance to bleed on paper. I push my brain to come up with something articulate. But these things cannot be forced now, can they? I’m fear they’ll give up some day. Or worse, they’ll give in and spill my best kept secrets to the world.

The sky today is like a calm river turned upside down. Just a couple of pillowy clouds scattered about to break the blue monotony. A cumulus with a sheep’s face and feline body floats by without purpose, languid, just like this glorious summer day. I should be out, blowing dandelion fuzz or eating cherry popsicles. But I’ve locked myself in and locked horns with my brain. I’m trying to harness my emotions, digging furiously till I strike literary oil.

A thought, an idea grazes my brain. She’s touching me, but barely. She plays coy. I try to catch her, but she’s mercurial. She’s fleeting ahead. Her long white dress plays with the wind, its lacy frills puff up and fall down. When she turns around, her windswept hair covers the sunshine on her face. She looks at me and laughs. “You can’t get me”, she mocks in a lilting tone. It’s an invitation, really. She enjoys the chase.

I go after her, mesmerized and hopeful of what might come. The geography changes with every step. One moment I’m looking at angry waves lashing against rocks. Next, I’m on a sand dune, my throat like sandpaper. She takes me from mountains to Mars. I’m disoriented, but I still follow her like a devoted puppy.

But I’m not fast enough. She’s disappearing, piece by piece. Her legs vanish first, she’s an apparition.

Her silhouette is getting lighter and lighter, melting into the horizon. I make one last desperate grab, but she’s the air around me now. I kneel down in exasperation. But I’m holding on to something. It’s like I’ve caught a cloud. It’s her sea-green scarf, a fraction of her.

I rub the fabric between my fingers as if it will make some writing genie appear. But all magic is fictional. Nobody comes. My paper is still blank.

The desk cannot take the sight of my desperation anymore. I have to get up or I’ll grow roots here. The antique mahogany groans as I get up. Dusk is falling, I should get some fresh air. A gust of wind puts her scarf in my path. She’s asking me not to leave. I sit back and write a paragraph on it, about it. With every word, the pixels come together. She’s coming back to life, her legs, her billowy skirt, the dainty frills, the windswept hair, the stars in her eyes and the honey in her voice, all of her.

She’s in my embrace. I’ve caught that fleeting thought. I’m writing.

16 thoughts on “The Process

  1. Shailaja Vishwanath

    Well, well, look at you, miss Muse 🙂 I like the evocative imagery of the flitting yet kind muse you’ve captured.

    Also, not really fiction, is it? 😉 More like a metaphorical non-fiction for every writer 😀

    Reply
  2. Jennifer Knoblock

    I really enjoyed the figurative language, all piled on, a clever contrast to the claim, “I have nothing to say.”
    This line might be my favorite, though: ” but she’s the air around me now.”

    Reply
    1. mixedbag Post author

      Thanks, Jennifer! My husband read this and said something similar “That’s a lot of words coming from someone who’s facing a block” 🙂

      Reply
  3. Melony

    Wow. What a lovely way to describe the annoying block we writers get. I loved all the analogies and figurative language you used here. Beautiful imagery too!

    Reply
  4. Nate

    This is so lyrical, Hema. I love “The sky today is a calm river turned upside down” and “She takes me from mountains to Mars.” You’re very talented at engaging all of the senses.

    Reply
    1. mixedbag Post author

      Nate, I am SO thrilled to get this comment from you. Thank you so much for being so encouraging!

      Reply
  5. meg

    The imagery here is evocative. I know how this feels — the chasing and waiting for words. I was also struck by two flipped images: the upside down river and the “fleeting ahead.” I don’t know if it was intentional, but both seemed to evoke the discomfort of searching for the right words — I mean that in a good way! Well done!

    Reply
    1. mixedbag Post author

      Thank you, Meg! Honestly, this week I had no idea what to write about. So yes, I wanted to convey the discomfort you experience when you try to catch a thought, but it escapes like sand through your fingers. I’m really glad it came through. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  6. Brunda

    The post was intriguing and so very familiar, you have a talent to turn the most mundane things into a beautiful portrayal of art:)

    Reply

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