Wednesday, July 13, 2011
the second line, or how i will never finish a story
it didn't used to be this way. i would sit for hours in my dorm room, rocking back and forth in the wooden chair. the same wooden chair that held scores of students before me, in that same room with the bunk beds and exposed brick wall. i would rock, and while rocking, think about how to start my story. my essay. my report. microsoft word pulled up, with the cursor tauntingly blinking in the upper left corner. it's not that i didn't have anything to say. i had plenty. but starting it took time.
now, i can write a thousand opening lines. words flow from my fingers and spill out onto the screen. it's the meaty part that's hard. the second line. that's where my mind clams up and my heart races and i'm afraid i'll never match the beauty of the words before. there are stories tucked in my journal that are nothing more than one-liners. to flesh out an entire novel seems impossible for this girl who loves simplicity. loves short sentences pregnant with meaning.
hemingway wrote a six-word story once. just to prove he could:
for sale. baby shoes. never worn.
i think that's my fear. that i will sit down one day in front of a computer in a room unfamiliar to me now, but by then, wholly my home. and i will write. and maybe the words will flow furiously or maybe it will take years. and i'll never match the meaning of those six words. that my opening line will be a story in and of itself and the rest will be filler. fluff.
there are words in this heart. and stories and tales. but like the writer, they are simple. and i'm scared of suffocating them. with dialogue. with descriptions and details.
so i keep them tucked away. until i have enough breath in me to share with them. and its this symbiotic relationship that will redeem me until i can form, shape, mold and create them enough that they live entirely on their own.