It hit me when I was ironing. Halfway through my husband’s shirt I realized my blog due date was less than three days away, and I had nothing to say, especially not to thoughtful wordsmiths.
I haven’t thought much about writing since my story nearly died. Just after New Year’s Day I filled a brown box with black-clipped chapters, fat note files, rubber banded notecards, stacks of books and a handful of marked-up maps. I sealed it with strapping tape and wrote OUT OF BOUNDS in bold black. The pen’s permanent scent hung in the air for a good half hour that Saturday morning.
So the story has endured the attic’s dark cold and heat for more than five months. Not that the story is off limits. Ironically, the story’s title is Out of Bounds. It may return to the light of day, but not today. It’s not ready. Neither am I.
You may be a recovering writer, too. When the tale that gripped you is taken, what then? Or when you yourself pack it away, maybe even throw it away, where to turn? What to say when the words have been knocked out of you?
I don’t have the answer, but I’ve begun again. In One Year to a Writing Life Susan Tiberghien suggests beginning the writing life with daily journaling. (Journal contains jour, French for “day.” How, through two years of French and two degrees in English, have I missed that gem?) Julia Cameron prescribes morning pages, three flowing, uncensored pages at the day’s start to record what is seen, heard, smelled, felt. Blank journals have proved the doorway into an all-new world waiting exploration, discovery and most importantly, liberation.
So today I’m leafing through the last six months. They are laced with exuberance over a twenty-fifth anniversary, frustration with a faraway son, fanning a flickering story idea, yearning for Jesus, and the recurring cry, “LORD, have mercy.”
And He has. He has not only bound up the wound, but borne it, too; not only offered hope but given new life. Disappointment opens doors we dread but dare not pass.