Today I’m kind of feeling like my daughter did when she was about 5 years old.
We were having dinner one night and said this word: “aweedz”. I guess she liked the sound of it because she kept repeating it over and over. Finally I asked her, “What’s aweedz?”
“Aweedz,” she said matter-of-factly. And then kept saying it.
“But, Abby, I don’t know what ‘aweedz’ is,” I said. “Is it something you learned at school? What does it mean?”
“A-weedz,” she said, emphasizing the syllables as if it would help me understand.
“Yes, ‘aweedz’,” I said, “But I don’t know what it means.”
“A-WEEDZ,” she replied, getting a little impatient with me.
“Yes, but what does it mean?” I asked again. “Use it in a sentence.” I figured she probably wasn’t pronouncing the word properly and if she used it in a sentence it would clear things up.
“I don’t know!” she exclaimed, “Just A-WEEDZ! A-WEEDZ! A-WEEDZ!” She was more than a little frustrated now. “It’s just AWEEDZ!”
“But use it in a sentence,” I said, again, “so I can understand what you’re saying. Use it in a sentence.”
She stopped for a split second before shouting, “What’s a sentence??!”
Imagine her frustration. There she was, just saying a word that was in her head because she liked the sound of it; because it was meaningful to her. And there I was making it all complicated and frustrating for her because I wanted to know what that word meant. I wanted to know what this “aweedz” was. I wanted to hear the word in a sentence so I could make sense of it. I wanted her to articulate the word better so I could understand what her fascination with it was, so she could share it with me. But in doing so, I just made her frustrated. She couldn’t express her new favorite word in a way that I could understand what it meant. Not only that, I was asking her to use it in a sentence and she didn’t even know what that was! So she stopped saying “aweedz.”
Today I kind of feel like Abby; frustrated, overwhelmed, feeling like trying to express what’s in my head is just too. much. work. Sometimes it’s just too hard to get out what I’ve got inside. When in my head everything makes perfect sense, but the minute I try to give it a voice it becomes a frustrating example of communication breakdown – with myself!
I can’t even tell you how many times, lately, I’ve sat down at the computer to write and I just stare. But at the very same time the story is pounding at the walls of my brain saying, “Let me out! Let me out!” There’s a shortage somewhere between my head and my fingers. And I’m shouting, “What’s a sentence?!” How can I put into words what I’m seeing, what I’m feeling, what I’m experiencing in my creative mind? I feel like my head is so full, but for some reason I just can’t get it out. I feel like all I’m doing is repeating, “aweedz, aweedz, aweedz!”
I guess this is what some call “writer’s block”. I don’t like it. So, I think it’s time to take Eric Fortune’s advice and cultivate the relationship with my Creativity in hopes of repairing my fractured relationship with the art of sentence making.
P.S. I eventually came to realize “aweedz” was the name of a new friend Abby had made at school: Arrij. And Abby has since learned what a sentence is which has made her life much easier.