My place in the Woods
I have been a lover of words for as long as I can remember. Like a rag picker I gather and store them. I have kept diaries and I have kept scraps of paper. I have cut out inspiring paragraphs from magazines and newspaper way before they were read by the rest of the family and been suitably admonished.
These diaries and words have been a true witness to the unfolding of my life. Like the rings in the trunk of a tree, they have helped me uncover the truth about myself and followed my personal and spiritual growth. By guiding me gently like fire flies in the dark, they have shown me the road down which I should travel in order to be peaceful and happy.
I write about a beautiful bird observed, a book that inspired, a movie seen, an exhibition visited, a memory recovered and saved from oblivion, an artwork that made me happy. As the subconscious desires and fears come to the fore from the dark recesses of the mind, the mere act of writing becomes cathartic.
I find myself a quiet spot. In the stillness of the early morning hours, the empty page stares at me and greets me like an old friend. I am ready to chart the flight of my thoughts. The pristine whiteness of the page soothes my mind. Even before I have written anything I am calmed. With the process of writing I get in touch with that part of my soul which is nurtured by silence and blossoms with the light of attention.
My pen twirls expectantly in my impatient fingers, waiting for me to make the first move. I have been looking forward to this moment all morning. Chores over, hot cup of coffee by my side, a warm, welcoming silence all around, in this all-pervading silence, I wait to ensnare inspiration like butterflies in a net.
All I get is grey blankness.
I desperately want to write something exciting today.
I want to write a story using words that are fresh as summer rain and evoke happiness and joy. Words that will inspire me and their reader equally, yet try as I might, the right words elude me, whatever I write seems trite and clichéd. Is this really what I want to convey, I wonder? A dull, brown pall surrounds me. Yet, I persist, hacking into the dictionary and the thesaurus for new words and more agile sentences. Sentences that dance to their own tunes and make people sit up and take note of their existence. I know there`s a story within me that needs to be told. What is it? I need to find out, so I plod on…urging the dullness to lift and be replaced by something pulsating and bright.
After writing mounds of pages I realise the futility of the effort. The stress I am putting on myself ensures that all creativity and spontaneity gets killed. I crumple them in disgust, not so sure of myself any longer. As the coffee cools by the side of the table, I feel my enthusiasm ebb away. Thoughts are already flitting around in my head…swarming around to let me know just how useless I am and how nothing of any worth will ever come out of me. As I flick them away with an impatient hand, I recall beautifully strung words…words which make sentences of such purity that they tug at the heartstrings. I take out my diary and read those sentences…collected painstakingly over years of reading. I forget myself and revel in someone else`s gift with the written word.
I thank the insight that spurred me to note down all that I admired in another`s writing. The clarity, the precision, the brevity, the eking out of the essence of wisdom is nothing short of miraculous. In those comforting pages of the written words, I lose myself. As I skim through impossibly perfect sentences, I come across words that could have been noted down for this very day…
“The woods will be very silent, if only those birds sang, that sang the best…”
Magically, I find my place, a place that no one was taking from me, but one that I was willing to give up, voluntaril. Now I tell myself, not without a fight…
I make a fresh cup of coffee and get down to the joy of writing.