Underscoring Nothing

Today I played with syntax. More on that tomorrow. Near the end of my writing session, I decided: One more page. Usually one more page is my push to say what I really want to say, but today, it was my push away from what I really want to say. We all have things that show up in our notebooks every other session. Sometimes I want a break from that repetitive thought – whether an idea, worry, memory, feeling, prayer. Sometimes I just want to not scratch the itch. I want to pretend ___ isn’t there.

I think composting is a valuable part of writing practice, but sometimes I just don’t want to rake through the mulch again. So today when I sat to write one more page, I was (and wasn’t) surprised how difficult it was not to give ___ its space, or even to name it.

Because I’d just finished messing around with a syntax exercise, some of my phrases seem looser, coming unbidden. That was unexpected and fun.

In the following I’ve boldfaced ideas I might return to. Do that in your own WP, circling or underlining words, phrases or ideas that you want to come back to at another session.

I want to rearrange, order effort my home. Pull a room from dropping off. All there out there first thoughts penned carefully one word one word one word but still a tinge of wild, like smeared paint. This is what happens when I quit thinking about ___ (always at the base of my skull, a little stone). I need a break from ___.

Steadily writing one plodding word after another, one more away from ___ which shows up here even when I want to quit thinking it: a little stone taking up space in my page as a short underscore. Underscoring nothing. Literally underscoring nothing.

All that nothing holds at least a hundred words I am not wanting here because those hundred words (more) have been written a few pages back, a few notebooks back; those hundred words have been prayed on the treadmill, cried on my bedroom floor, whispered at the kitchen sink. If only I could whittle ___ to one hundred words.

I would feel better and worse about everything.

I was going to write about my home. ___ gets in my way. God, please.

My daughter wants an art table. I want one too, to keep our dining table. Our dining table. We orbit. We put stuff on every surface. I have a box of papers I think might be too important to pitch but I’m not sure. Sometimes I think about the mess we’d leave if we all died in a car accident: know our lives by a cupboard of child’s drawings, bins of Lego, hidden chocolate bars, writing on walls, garlic stuffed green olives, a baking stone, mismatched furniture. It kills me to think of anyone else deciding what to keep when they open a drawer of hair bands, sunglasses and a lone playing card.

This makes me sad. It makes me want a kind of order. An art table. A world map.

I think I can stop now. I can go home and open the drawers, decide what we keep.  I am afraid once I quit putting one word after another here that I’ll be full of ___ again, giving ___ more than a hundred words. I almost want to write my way through the end of this notebook, about anything but ___. Fuck. Instead, I finish here. Go make room for an art table.

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