Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fingers do the talking

Hands poised over the keys as if just setting them there will spark the crative juices.  For a long time I believed that it was the actual motion of pen in hand across a page that did the writing, as opposed to the brain that controls that hand.  Now that I do a larger proportion of my writing on a computer, I've revised that theory to include both hands, and pecking away on the keyboard.  There have been times when I write, whether on paper or on the screen, that I'm utterly amazed by what I watch being written.  It's like there's a pathway to my fingers that I am unaware of.  Maybe this sounds crazy but this has happened often enough that I believe it.

For example I sat down at my first laptop about nine years ago, needing to have a writing sample for a seminar I was taking to complete my masters' degree.  After spinning for a few minutes, I placed my hands upon the keys and wrote this:

My life began on October afternoon when I was twelve years old.  Though I'd been born a dozen year before, recollections of my earlier life are miraged memories, and every attempt to drink from them leaves me with my fact full of sand.  If I were twelve years old again and asked to write an essay about my life, I would have only one fully formed day to write about, as if I'd been floating in my mothers womb all the years before, safe and content, and not anxious to move through that dangerous tunnel into the light.  I preferred the darkness that covered like a cloak and protect me from exposure.

This paragraph is the first one I ever wrote for my novel, and for a very long time it didn't change, though practically every other sentence in the 300 pages morphed into something so wholly different from where it began, I don't even remember the beginning.  However, this paragraph was also finally murdered, slain as though it had never been.  Now the novel simply begins, but was also written with very little sweat and tears.  Like so:

 It is an early October afternoon in the Palouse, and I am riding home on the late bus, which is empty, since our house is the last stop on its route.  Out the window, I see a man on a tractor plowing a dark circle around the contour of an empty field.  I squint, wondering if he is my father or my Uncle Tommy, since from this distance, they're hard to tell apart.  The bus driver, Mr. Olson, honks, and the man on the tractor waves.  Uncle Tommy, I decide.  Papa wouldn't wave. He keeps his head down when he's working in the fields.

Huge difference, huh?

But both came out the end of my fingers.  And now, after sitting with them for years, then sitting without them for months, these words haunt me.  Draw me in.  Me, who knows where they're headed (at least some of the time)...and I believe they can draw others in as well, even though I don't know who those others are yet, or where they'll come from.  Maybe I'll just copy out this story right here on my blog, allow my few faithful readers to be the audience.  And maybe, this way, this story I still feel compelled to tell will find its voice.  And maybe, as my fingers write it out again, I'll find my own voice again, and the dream will live.

And maybe the reason that some of my best writing comes through my fingers rather than my brain is because the Spirit doesn't need my brain to help it along, to get in the way even.  And maybe, if my fingers do the talking again, so to speak (and not to be punny), He'll bestow His magic--er, His miracle--of creativity, and together we'll finish what we (He, my fingers and I) began so many years ago. 

What do you think? 

1 comment:

cece said...

I say, I would love to read it. I read the first copy (actually have no idea what copy it was... just that it was in a read binder) it was an honor then to read it and it'd be an honor now to read it!