I see the faithful instruction written in the chalkboard of my head throughout the day. On the to-do list of my brain when I wake up, the sharp music of my phone alarm decorating the air, piercing the assignment into me melodiously. As people pass me books, hardcovers and soft covers, written, finished, published, and bound, I punch in one dollar books & CDS and wonder when my name will ever be in print.
It plays in my head like a melody. Over morning bible readings and breakfast and as I check through Facebook and email before work. It’s the song only I can hear when the radio plays praise music at the till, while I make change from tens and twenties and stuff shirts and socks, books and blenders into plastic bags.
Says the Voice in My Head. He calls again and again,but I travel far away.
I watch a movie, stuffing butter dripping popcorn into my face. Log-in to Facebook 21 times a day, surf through the statuses and links, all full of words, and pictures, which they say can tell a thousand. A friend texts me and I text back, amassing countless paragraphs back and forth across the kilometres. I even open the red book with the gold letters, dearly treasured and desperately falling apart as it is, and read that word.
Anything to avoid, sometimes. Anything to get away from what I really love best.
The wall clock in the store clicks. The time on my phone has changed. The digital stove clock shows 5:17 PM, instead of 8:36 AM, when I arrive home, exhausted, drained from three hundred conversations, too many transactions, a multitude of messes to clean, and a few f-words thrown in my direction.
Write something? How could I? Can’t you see I don’t have any room right now?
I slide into the car once more, reminding myself to drive safely, as per my usual driving ritual. A few intersections and left turns and right turns later and I’m at my friend’s. We have a meeting and fondue and games, sprinkled with laughter, joy, and discussion.
Write something, I hear it again.
Well, I’m kind of busy right now, in case you didn’t notice. And I don’t have my laptop and it would be socially inappropriate, even if I did, I counter briskly in my head, while laying down a card for Apples to Apples.
Write something, the Voice persists, knowing fully that I know full well that He meant later when I’m at home.
But I’m even more exhausted when my hands hit the computer keys at 10:47 PM, and my warm bed is a better welcome to me than an empty computer screen.
Write something. I read the to-do list once more as my alarm sounds even on my day off, Friday.
Yeah, well, it is my day off so I probably should, I think as I lazily pull my hair up out of its curled mess and wander into the kitchen for my morning ritual of tea.
We sit across from each other, sipping drinks–he has an iced coffee and I’ve ordered a London Fog–and talking, laughing even, about this craft we call writing.
“I think you have to discipline yourself to do it,” he says eventually, after we’ve nearly exhausted the subject, just as I’ve felt exhausted by it in the past.
And he’s right, I know. Oh, I know.
Write something. I hear it again as we talk about other things and again on my ride home and then again when I think on my afternoon over another cup of tea at home.
So now I’m writing something. Finally stepping up and listening to the music. Letting it flow out from within me and become my own.
I hope to become the discipline we spoke of today, though I know it will be hard. I hope to write many more things in the coming weeks and months and years. I hope I can learn to always get back up even after I’ve given up.
I know the journey is not over.