They say…

“Write what you know.”

That’s what they say – the anonymous ‘They’ so often quoted when the speaker is trying to weight their opinion – as though knowing something enables you to write about it; as though through knowing, your writing would make sense.

I could write what I know. I could tell you so much of my world…

I could describe in minute detail the barbell I work out with, its length starred with knurling diamonds guttered by chalk. I could wax lyrical about the stance, the tensing, the sudden wavering of mind “Can I lift it? Really?”, the dusting of palms with white powder, and the feeling of doing things properly simultaneous with the bubbling internal laughter when I remember instructions to ‘hate the bar’ and my absolute inability to do so, preferring instead to envisage it floating upwards as my muscles take the strain.

I could snuggle you up in my memories of lazy Saturday mornings with Niece, her small form tucked against me on the sofa as we wake up slowly to a movie of her choice. I could wrap you in the blankets and juggle you around with the plates and cups and elbows such a breakfast-time endeavour seems to involve.

I could tie you in knots of scar tissue and limit your movement; let you feel the pinch and burn as bones not meant to be tethered there or there try to pull away and move normally, but can’t. I could throw you over the front of the car I remember seeing so vividly, so unnaturally, underneath me as I flew. I could infuse you with all the indignance, rage, and adrenaline I felt, so you were fit to get up and fly at the stupid sod who hit you, even as the gentle hands of strangers hold you still on the cold, dark ground.

I could wrack you with the anguish of knowing that however much you poured out from your financial or emotional ‘pots’; however much time you spent doing, you could never provide more than a drop of balance in an ocean of need. I could swamp you with guilt for your abundance, knight you with the nobility of your intentions and cut the legs from under you with the humiliation that comes from feeling noble about helping in the first place. I could drown you in that quagmire and render you useless to anyone, then shamed by the knowledge you’d then become a taker – an addition to the sea of help required. I could set your inner voice on a tearful repeat; “Las Vegas, Catalonia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, Myanmar, Syria, Sierra Leone, Egypt…”

I could tantalise you with freshly chopped bright colours and the tang of herbs. I might rub your fingertips through the spices and let you taste their fragrance. I could heat your hands and arms and belly with the sizzle of cooking and warm your soul with the liberation of knowing nothing sentient died to feed you. I could fill you with delicious joyfulness and the delight of knowing every mouthful is good for you.

I could torture you with near-sleep visions of giant hooks crashing into your body, ripping you apart, spearing your flesh and stretching until your very cells split apart and you become two, or three, or more, yet never bleeding as you realise you were already dead. I could lie you helpless as sharp spikes loomed ever closer, nudging your shoulderblades and spine ready to pierce. I could repeat the scenarios every night until you became immune, shrugged, and watched them play out as you drifted to dreamland, dying over and over again, not caring.

I could whisper of the yearning for the perfect One, and couple it tenderly with the knowledge that such a One rarely exists beyond the covers of someone else’s story. I could stroke your innermost thoughts with the tantalising idea that for some people, somewhere, it really, *really* works out, and it’s oh, so, SO very good. I could take you away from your loneliness and solitude, and wrap you in the arms of thoughts of togetherness. I could kiss you goodnight with the hope you’ll be one of the lucky ones.

I could tell you my world. I could tell you so you felt it.

But what I haven’t figured out how to do (yet) is tell you someone else’s.

They say there’s a book in everyone, and perhaps that’s true. Maybe some of us are walking around with veritable libraries of possibility hidden away in our insides. There are other worlds, They say, other ideas, which are just Out There waiting to be thought of – waiting for that one special person to cop on and bring them into being. It’s a wonderful fantasy. I imagine the ideas as small balls of bright blue light, floating around our planet – an extra orbit of stars only visible when one opens up the mind to look for them. In the case of an individual hitting upon the right train of thought, the ball of light, sensing this, zeroes in and docks in their brain, pouring out its glorious energy through their mind and body until the idea comes into being in whatever form that might take.

To me, the idea of creating an entire new world, with beings to populate it, a superstructure for events to take place within, an emotional context, and (somewhere along the way) a beginning, middle, and end of the point of it all, is astonishing. That some are talented and dedicated enough to do that, amazes me. That they make it consistent enough for you and me to believe, leaves me awestruck.

I couldn’t manage it. I fear I would lose you along the way, let you down. I just don’t think it could be close enough to what I know, without actually being…yaknow…me. There’s a fine line of balance there I’ve yet to discover – the art of being similar enough to work with, yet distinct enough not to blur into my reality – and as I once discovered, I am the kind of person who can fall off a pilates mat from lying down.

Perhaps I just need to open my mind…but I’ve a feeling it takes a lot more than that.

51 thoughts on “They say…

  1. “A small ball of bright, blue light.”

    I love this for its alliteration and for its beauty.

    I see the point here, I think. It’s easy to speak about so much of my life, but I am trying to write fiction. I am trying to write a story of hard decisions and desperation during war. I’m trying to write a story of life behind the fighting armies and into one family’s struggle for survival. This was a real family, mine, once upon a time and far far away. I want to tell it, but my own imagination fails me. I don’t know what living through war would do to a person and I am glad I don’t know, but I don’t know how to tell a story that is fighting to come out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds really tough but also a very important story to tell. Are there people in your family you can ask, then incorporate their memories? Even second-hand information might be useful.
      Bravo for taking this on. I am sure you will do it justice.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Is THIS creative nonfiction? I confess it’s one of those terms I’ve never managed to get a good grasp of, as it seems to me rather amorphous and can kind of encompass varying degrees of whatever. If this IS it, then I enjoy it immensely.


    • Thank you huge! I hope one day I can do it…I may need to start out slow but at least there’s THIS, yaknow? Not just a total blank space. Glad you loved it 😍


  2. You have the talent in spades, my BW. You have some of the mosts visceral, evocative writing I’ve ever read. And yes, if you want to write a novel, I know you can and will. Dedication, passion for something like that can’t be forced, but when it is meant to be, it will appear when the time is write (< see what I did there?)

    I can tell your mind is playing with words again just by the fact you have two new blog posts in a week! Maybe this is the beginning.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You never know! I love that words have come back to me and I am enjoying them again (though write this moment (I can do it too, see?) my whole world is swimming as my grasp on consciousness slides in and out. I feel leaden and someone along the way took my brain and replaced it with cotton wool. You are very generous though, and I hope one day I will be able to link my writing capability up with a story and the determination (and time) to follow in your footsteps and produce something incredible 😘😘😘


  3. Funny, I’m struggling to finish a piece on fear right now – not about writing, specifically, but fear in general. Really wish I knew why it won’t come together. So yeah, I get where you’re coming from. But you, my dear, are so so very hard on yourself. Think less. All things in due time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a book about short stories instead of one long one? Or your favorite blog posts? I’ve bought books from a couple of bloggers/writers that were compilations of posts. I know it’s not being a novelist, but if you really want to put out a book, it’s doable. That you have writing chops is without doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heheh thank you. I am glad to have some of the abilities needed. I wouldn’t even attempt a book of blog posts. That’s so very far from my kind of thing, and anyway, they’re all out here and available. No-one has any earthly reason to put effort or money into that. Short stories are a no for a different reason – personally, I wouldn’t want to buy a book of short stories, so I wouldn’t want to write one. Thanks for the thoughts though. If I write and get published, I want it to be for something I would enjoy myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your writing is so incredibly vivid and inspiring. You did take me from your gym to the warm blanket shared with your niece to the cold hood of the car (I had no idea, by the way!) to your vegan plate and made me feel like every one of those places was the place to be, that’s the magic of great storytelling. I’m so with you on that whole dilemma of writing what you know vs. what you don’t. I’ve been thinking about it a lot,lately and feelling a bit paralyzed by the desire to move away from what I know and not knowing how to. Reading your words was like looking into my own self, a beautiful introspection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the good bits, and it’s encouraging to know I *could* take you with me. I remember there was a time when I tried to provoke reactions, and I still don’t feel that’s the right way to go about it. I love writing immersively, and I think it’s something I usually manage, yet like you, I’ve no idea how to take it any further, how to make it something that’s not mine. It helps to know I’m not alone in this.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. When I think of sitting for periods of time to write the stories in my head I close up and hide my writerly heart so deep inside that I think I force writer’s block on myself. It’s so much easier to tell you with my voice but to take those words and put them into black and white scares the living daylights out of me. Spoken words have the ability to wound but they also have that most gracious, at times, quality of being invisible. We don’t have to look at them. Putting words on paper for others to see, not just you, is such a frightening thing. We’re forced to read what we’ve written and then our self-doubt pays a visit. What if our words are not good enough? What if others hate them? Or even worse, what if they are simply paying lip service because they don’t want to hurt your feelings? How valid are our words then?
    Sigh. Most days it’s simply too much to deal with, on top of everything else going on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always an addition…to be honest though, I’m not sure I could speak the way I write. You’ve met me – I’m not incoherent but there’s a lack of poetry in spoken language which I love to put into written words…but nonetheless, can’t form into stories, never mind worlds. I’m not scared, thank goodness, but I am incapable of it (for now).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Funny thing is that I hear it when you speak, though you don’t. It’s there. I think you’ll get there someday, when your head gets around to actually meeting the words in your heart. 😉 (No, they aren’t always the same thing. You know that. lol)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much Jennifer. Mine is…I don’t even know! I just haven’t had any words. I haven’t had the inclination. I haven’t had anything. It’s been so weird to have such barrenness going on in my mind.


  7. I always *feel* your words. I felt every one of these, images and scenes playing out before my eyes. There IS a book inside you, it’s peeking round corners and tiptoeing through the recesses of your brilliant, beautiful mind. One day it’s going to drip, word by word upon a page and it will be good, so, so good ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope you’re right – at the moment it’s just that – in drips, here and there, splotching out every now and again in untidy splashy bits which don’t link up!


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