Dear Mr Hemingway,
You have much to answer for!
As a writer, I utterly understand your comment that it’s easy to write – you just sit down at a typewriter (or laptop) and bleed (or pixel, which is probably a less messy process, not being tangled up in ribbons and the smudgy-everywhereiness of actual INK) – BUT, dear chap, it’s getting bloody messy!
All over the place, I see writers – (mainly, but not exclusively) women with harsh truths in their lives, complex histories, and more pain than you’d expect to find dancing on razor blades in an inch of rubbing alcohol – bleeding all over the page. There’s a lot, a lot, a lot of blood. It gushes forth in great bucketting gouts, drowning readers in sorrow and tragedy and the earnest, public mea culpa of the soul. It’s harrowing. It’s REAL. Often it’s darkly, desolately gorgeous, like the war-stained ruins of an ancient, once-powerful civilisation.
But lately it’s damn well everywhere, and it’s beginning to get to me.
I’d like to propose an alternative. I *know* it’s important to write your wrongs and to have the opportunity to distill your soul in ink, sending it out into the world somewhat untangled, and with the chance for others to glance at your experience, feel that deep-down shivering gong of resonance, and respond “me too…” I don’t wish to deny or undermine the importance of sharing words ‘around the table’, with friends and peers, bonding over the piquancy, spiciness, and occasional sour flavour which is served to us all in the great meal of life, but…
..can’t we do it beautifully, just sometimes? Without the raw feeling of excoriation as the words run rampant through your brain, trailing sandpaper fingers along its neural pathways, forcing you to your knees in empathy as your heart is beaten over and over and over? Can’t we read without our beaten hearts being left in a bruised and tender state on the floor of our heaving chests? Because good grief, life is hard enough without going ten rounds with someone else’s!
I want to read words that approach me softly, moving through the air like dust-moted sunbeams in still woodlands. I want to immerse myself in stories which lap around the edges of my mind with salt-froth so soft I hardly realise I’m drifting away from the shore, about to be consumed by your tempest.
I crave subjects which galvanise my soul, energising me and charging me up so that my body twitches with genuine muscle-deep ZING! I begin to want to run or yell or fight someone, or somehow ride off into sunset adventures astride a noble charger. I desire writing which beguiles, with tender looks from under lowered eyelashes as words float in diaphanous symphonies of silken syllables, tempting me to follow wherever they may wander for just another glimpse, a shared look, a touch…
…I want your words, your life, your highs and lows, your ups and downs and ins and outs, all transcribed so beautifully, tears of amazement come to my eyes as I read and acknowledge the bright spark of your spirit shining through the places where your world has fallen apart. I want to marvel at its jagged edges now kintsugi-gilded with the desire to fight back against your darknesses by sharing them. I want to see the ripples of your history molding and shaping the sands of your shoreline, its flotsam and jetsam thrown into stark relief by glorious sunshine, sending twinkles across the bay of your background.
I want your treasured moments placed tenderly in my open palms like the jewels they are, that I might admire and cherish them also. I want your heart and mind and soul laid bare, that I might see the completeness of YOU, in all your tapestried glory – loose threads; gaping holes; gorgeous, beaded soliloquies in the bright colours of your thoughts at their richest and most vibrant – set out for me to revel in.
I want to stand, awestruck and newly able to acknowledge your colossal strength; to see the glorious Titan of your character, its oiled and muscled bounds far outstripping your physical presence.
I want to be caught unawares, a glimmer in the corner of my mind’s eye transpiring to be your experiences rendered in glittering, whirring words, hummingbird-like, that they might alight on the edges of my consciousness and sip, gently, from the cup of my attention.
I want your words to swell around me, rising and falling with the tempo of your heartbeat as you draw me close enough to feel you breathing. Let me be ensnared in the most beautiful way – weave your threads around me so gently and prettily I’m lost in the maze of your thoughts before I realise I am trapped. Let me be taken, slowly, wonderfully, blissfully, into your world, and shown what it means to you.
Indulge me, appease me, beguile me, and let me love you, anyway…
…dear Writer, bind your wounds, and stay the flow of blood.
Let your words, instead, rush forth as streams of lustred enchantment, redeeming the inevitable darknesses with light and beauty. Let me marvel at the cut and clarity of your gorgeous self, with every facet buffed to glimmering perfection. Above all, let me feel that connection – the place where I can put my fingers against the screen and sense the heat of yours, on just the other side, coming back at me infused with the truth – we’re all SO much more the same than different.
Dear Writer…write for me…