Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Word count

Writing in a supine position is a new experience for me. Usually I sit on the couch, with the laptop on, well,  my laptop. The rhythm of the keys moving at a frenetic pace, full of fits and starts. Deep thuds combined with the high clicking sound of the keyboard as my fingers find their way to the keys. In these private moments, traces of thoughts are formed in bursts of fits, starts, reconsideration and editorial randomness. Language as jazz-improvised in a concert of introspection. Judging by the number of readers most of the time, I'm the only one in attendance. At least I have a good seat.

I wish I understood my drive to write. Maybe it's because actual conversation is so difficult for me. Taking words by the throat and throwing them to the wind. Caution and hesitation are my stock in trade in social circles. One can not edit and undo that which has been uttered into the ether. Or as my friend Howard says "you can't un-ring a bell."

No, what I overhear in most circles is random words. Social conventions of useless words tossed around with little regard to the permanence of the moment. Chatter for the sake of being heard. I find it exhausting and not worth the effort. Words for me are the sacred link to the heart of a person. If a conversation is merely for social convention, then what's the point?

In my life, I have a very small circle of friends that I could sit with and spin tangles of words over countless hours. I could count all of those folks on two hands and one foot. It's not because of the words spoken between us, but because of the love I feel when effortless words emanate, intertwine and float into the late hours. Sometimes wine is involved. Throwing caution to the wind, a perilous journey of interconnected thoughts that meander a drunken path is tread. No road, no plan, no point other than sharing in the revelry of the moment. Chords of laughter fill the air making the music of life that matters. 

There are often periods in each of our lives where we are stranded in the desert. It's the hope of cool water in arid stretches of nothingness that pushes us forward. Pressing against the heat of the sun, we walk great distances hoping that something will soothe the parched places that the heat has withered.  

I miss the sound of the voices that I hold dear. Email, text and IM'ing can never replace a warm smile and a hearty laugh. When I get a message from a friend, I have so much to say, that I put off answering until I have the time to give a sincere answer. Days pass, then weeks, and before you know it, the opportunity has passed. Months go by, then the embarrassment of having not answered takes over. 

So what does one do? Wait for the perfect moment for the perfect gathering? Or, do you wade into shallow end of the conversational pool with a few short, but not as heart felt, words? Is it the thought that counts or the count of the words? I am coming to the conclusion that a few here and there is better than few and far between. 

I guess it all goes back to the old saw of "How do you spell love? T-I-M-E." So a little time, a little love and a few heartfelt words are better than none at all. I think maybe the better way to frame an approach can be modeled on the words of Mother Teresa. "Not all of us can do great things. But all of us can do small things with great love." Well chosen words to live by. If she had felt they had neither the gravitas, nor the word count, we would have been none the wiser, and that would have been the greater shame. 

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