500 words yet unwritten, allowing me to sense their continuous presence, taunting me with their potential and their cleverness just out of reach, blaming me somehow for all the shortcomings of mankind, or at least my own, as if it were my fault that I love them so desperately but forget their order too quickly to put them into the world that expects so much and so little of them.
500 little words that must be written daily. It seems like such a nothing task to assign. Grade school teachers assign it to challenge those only beginning to learn to read and write. So how hard could it be to find 500 little words that belong together?
Yet here I am, ironically already getting stuck at 50 words on the first outing of this little experiment. Christ, over the course of the day I drop thousands of words on nothing at all, from greetings to mundane questions to answers to praises and complaints; none of which I am not even sure are being heard.
What changes so much when I sit, alone and and full of desire, in front of that blinking cursor? Where does the inspiration go? And why does it take motivation with it? It’s only 500 words. How hard should it be? I didn’t dare demand 500 great, or even good, words. I only asked for 500 of them; as good or bad as they are willing to be.
How do I entice them to the surface? I can feel them painfully, sarcastically, sadistically tickling the ends of my fingertips; refusing to arrive. I want to help them out into the world, to help them make sense of themselves, if only through the eyes of the “others” who read them.
I would write them a love letter if I could. I would tell them how they changed my life. How they make such a difference in the life of everyone that encounters them. I would explain how, through them, all collaborations are possible and how without them, the world is quiet and dull. I would tell them all this and more, but I can’t. They won’t come to me and let me use them to explain myself. They hide themselves even from the pleasure they can give themselves.
Their cruelty is absolute. Had I known, I would’ve turned my back on them before they had gotten into my blood. Alas, I am hooked. So I return time and time again, hoping that today is the day that those 500 words will open up to me, allowing me to connect to that beautifully tragic history of stories and their telling. I dare even hope that those same 500 words will eventually become good, nay great. Is it even possible that those same 500 words could one day inspire someone else to sit before the blank screen and blinking cursor and take the punishment in the same hopeful desperation for that rare and ellusive reward that can be found only after one has put the final period to the piece?
original publication September 2015