Elusive Words

I have spent the better part of today dancing around the things that don’t get said.  Or, in this case, written.  I have written in my notebook, on my phone, on an ipad and now here, in bed beside my sleeping child. I have crafted phrases and lines and moved words around to get them just so.  But I could not get them to fit, to settle onto the page.  And none of them are ready for public consumption.  They’re just not ready.  But this feels like a copout.  I feel like I am on top of the treetop pole and I just won’t jump.

When I was 19, I was hired to be a camp counselor at a fabulously hippie camp in Ithaca, New York.  Part of our staff development training prior to the campers arrival was a “bonding” trip to a ropes course.  I was uncomfortable and afraid of heights.  Full disclosure, I was uncomfortable in a harness that was clearly designed to enhance my derrière (which I was constantly trying to avoid acknowledging even existed) and then haul said derriere up a pole with witnesses having an optimal vantage point.  But I did put on the harness.  And I did climb to the top of the pole.  And then…I climbed back down.  I couldn’t do it.  I had gotten up there and raised my body to full standing height and all I needed to do was jump.  Everyone was waiting.  And cheering.  And watching.  But I couldn’t actually let my feet leave the tenuous safety of the pole and trust that the skilled counselors below and fate would ensure my survival.  I couldn’t do it.  So I climbed down.  I failed.

I am almost 49 years old tonight and I still feel like I’m on top of that pole.  So, I’ll leave the title of the unpublished blog here, to remind me that tomorrow I can try again. Tomorrow I can jump.

The blog that still hasn’t been written:  ““I need inspiration…Partners.”

 

12 thoughts on “Elusive Words

  1. What a perfect metaphor! Your post resonated with me. Except if I found myself inside your metaphor, I might stay up on the post so long I’d be too tired to climb down. 😉

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  2. I could relate to all of this! I have found that I like to have a few ideas in a document and I might work a bit on one or two each day plus whatever slice I’m really planning to publish that day. That way, even the slice I’m working on just can’t be pulled together, I do have another idea I’m working on that might be pulled together more quickly. Some pieces just need a longer percolation time. I loved the way the metaphor worked so well as a little slice itself and then also as an expression of those feelings about writing.

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  3. When I work with teachers and they tell me of their student(s) who are “stuck” I suggest they prompt the student to write about not having an idea to write about. Teachers laugh, but kids LOVE this and it creates amazing and creative pieces! I just might use your piece as a model for teachers!

    And, by the way, I haven’t even put on the harness, and I have been to the course three times!

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  4. I used to work on the ropes course at a summer camp and loved it although I am not a fan of heights. My best inspirations for blogging have come from others’ posts. Start a list of all the posts you like and try out their style. I just found another one tonight that I am adding to my list.

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  5. I love your metaphor. Partly because it’s so true that that’s what posting is like, but also partly because I can relate so much to your story. I worked at a fabulously hippie camp in Michigan where I went to a ropes course and climbed up….and climbed down instead of jumping. Your writing is beautiful. I imagine that even if the piece you’ve been working on isn’t perfect, it will be a pleasure to read, because your word smithing is so delightful in this piece. I can’t wait to read what you write tomorrow!

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  6. This is an important piece of writing. I’m glad you put this out there in the world today.

    Please know that SOL should be first-draft writing. Go ahead and proofread it, but know that it doesn’t need to be perfectly polished.

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  7. I agree- beautiful piece and so, so honest. How many of us choose to write about a moment like that in our past? But it emerged as your metaphor. I hope as you read and comment on others’ writing this March, that you will lightnen up on that “publish” button finger. Relax, take a few risks, put out a few not-so-great posts, like all of us :). And then in April be amazed.

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