Pulling Teeth

A word is not the same with one writer as with another.  One tears it from his guts.  The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. –Charles Peguy

Sometimes, a writer sits down in front the word processor and taps into a productive flow immediately, gliding into it as easily as soft butter oozes around the edge of a knife. Those are the times when the words seem to drip not from synaptic outlets in the right side of the brain, but directly from the fingertips onto the keyboard, as if some unseen force separate from the author is holding him by the wrists, guiding his hands.

The work is easy. It’s good. And it’s beyond the writer’s control.

Then there’s the other extreme; the times when it’s easier to stab yourself in the eyeball with an icicle or gargle a mouthful of sand and glass than to set your thoughts down in a hardened, printed form. Those are the times when you’d rather just go back to bed because the half-formed, symbol-filled, illogical, and cartoony world of your dreams seems to have a more cohesive reason for living than any of the plot twists you’ve tried to manufacture in your waking life.

I am happy to report that today I was fulfilled by the former state, the one in which the writing flows and works and feels satisfying. The down side? I was working on a project for my day job, not on my novel.

Oh, well. Someday I’ll get back to that second draft and feel that same sense of well-being, satisfaction, and accomplishment that I felt today from my work project.

Until then, I’m just glad I live in the middle of the Southeastern U.S., where the icicles are few and far between and it takes more than half a day to drive to a beach.