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July 7, 2024

Forward I go

I don’t have illusions anymore. I’m too old to be a young prodigy, but my stubborn head never ceases to hope. It works its thoughts to the bone. Better than anyone, it insists, dreams, trips over details and imagines itself in heaven.

I darken lines night and day lately, I pile up the pages and feed on creased papers. Desperately, I search for my path. Will it emerge from an idea sown somewhere in my past that suddenly springs from the earth?

I’m worried, I’m cold. A coat of reassuring phrases might warm me up. After we escaped the apartment, my poor kids were tossed around like little frogs forced to grow up too quickly, without tenderness and cuddles. In those days, life went around in circles like a fairground ride. I had an expansive vocabulary yet had no voice to describe the carnage the horrible husband wreaked on my writing.

Am I too old to start a new career? A new book might interest me, keep me busy, make me better. The process of creating a plot fascinates me. I love linking ideas together, fragments of phrases, souvenirs that are still warm and even strange words that signify something. The accumulation of lines provides new perspectives that serve as fertile ground for fresh ideas. In my eyes, even a nonsensical sentence deserves to be put on paper. It may never move beyond the scribbling stage, but it may also have enough vitality to become an article, an amusing letter or even a road laid with a hundred pages.

I suffer from emptiness this morning. I open the window and welcome dawn. The promise of sunshine simmers behind the village’s steeple. Writing is like dancing: one word forward, one word back, then the music starts. My FM radio keeps pace. Between a rain shower and a sunburn, my heart sways. A memory resurfaces. A certain afternoon in May before turning 17. There had been a power outage at college and, since we were all boarding students, we were forbidden from leaving the gated school grounds. I had a few apples in my bag, two dates and a piece of Oka cheese. At the time, I was sweet on a certain guy named Paul, whom I hadn’t even spoken to. The heat was heavy that day and several of the boys removed their vests, rolled up their sleeves and unbuttoned their shirts. Beads of sweat were rolling down my forehead, but my heart shivered with fear!

Writing often breaks like a tidal wave, entering our minds and shredding everything in it – the judgements we make, our expectations, impatience, ego, received beliefs and all the terrible faces of fear. Writing liberates us from this existential prison. The more I read, the more I dream, the more I live, my imagination becomes increasingly elastic. I write to learn how to write, to know myself better, to discover which category of mechanical pencil I belong to. I scribble in my bed, resting in a hammock, dipping my toes in the pool or admiring the song of the finches and sharp caws of the intrepid crows. Summer is my best season. No matter how much I implore inspiration, search for it, beg for it, I must abide by its time. I know she cares for me and keeps watch over my writing.

I appreciate all the different facets of writing and work joyfully because of it: when I’m researching topics for my letters, when I have to document a subject I am unfamiliar with , when I jot down a million details in order to master a subject, when my mind races and my heart pounds. I drink a dozen coffees a day, eat lightly, listen to Gregorian chants, snooze for two hours and darken paper until a final period shuts me up. I don’t write to perform, I write to talk to my loyal readers. If I keep it up, surely they won’t forget me.