Prying another piece from my wall


This letter, in response to your letters, is long overdue.  When I write, I set out for release.  A small festering, fingering thought or curious observation wants to be let out, much like a dog scratching at the back door.  It would be wonderful if the process of putting pen to paper (figuratively speaking) were pleasant.  Instead, most often, it’s painful.  One of my most recent pieces took over seven hours and buckets of tears to pry out of me.  It called to come out, but it resisted all the way up and when it finally let loose, I felt like I was puking shards of glass.  I was raw for a week.  However, I no longer had that nagging annoyance to deal with.  I had relief and to get that relief is why I write.  I’ve alluded to this before but I haven’t come right out and said it. I also haven’t said the following…

In addition to finishing a piece providing me a repast, it often provides something else. Every once in a while, I get the unexpected. I get input from readers.  It’s as if my nagging annoyance is someone else’s incentive.  Prying a rock from my cliff of contentment lets cascade an avalanche for others.  Their mountains shiver and their plateaus shake until finally their peaks begin to break…and fall…in pieces…into my inbox…in the form of letters.  Receiving letters of any kind (except bills, solicitations and bulk mail) is a treat.  Receiving propositions is even better.  Being single for as long as I’ve been has its perks.  Sometimes, this is one of them.  Never allowing a good thing to be good for long, I find a way to ruin it.  I start to question.  I start to doubt.  I start to break apart and peer behind the curtain hoping to spot the plot. “Why would they write that?” “What could they want?”  Or, if they’re direct, “Why would they want me?” when it’s not me that they know but rather my words that they’ve read.  Believe it or not, I am more than my words.  I’m less as, often times, my words are me at my best.  When you speak to me, you discover this.  I can’t edit or rewrite or retype or retake.  Writing allows me to put my best foot forward instead of in my own mouth.

I’m good at talking (mostly about nothing).  I’ve never been good at listening.  Letters allow this.  They force me to be a spectator rather than a participant.  Considering for most of my life I’ve looked at reading as a chore, I’m getting practice and pop quizzes in the art of witnessing rather than responding.  This is a good thing because as a friend of mine defined humility as “listening”, forced or otherwise, humility is almost always good.  It teaches me when I don’t want to be taught and Lord knows I have a lot to learn.  Luckily, I have your letters to inspire me.  Thank you writing them.  Thank you for giving me another “problem” to “solve”.  And thank you for prying another piece from my wall.


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