Friday, June 15, 2012

Eluding Contemplation

 First of a series of occasional essays by Elaine L. Orr
I'm looking for my creative voice.  It's around here somewhere.  Some days it's so loud I can't stifle it with a stuffed pillow.  And I never know what it's going to say. 

Perhaps I should be glad that it's missing today.  I can go out in public, certain that it will not pop up, as it did last week when we were riding the subway, to comment on a woman's pink and green hat.  Luckily, she had a sense of humor.

I do need that voice.  A writer does not live by white-out alone.  A search warrant is in order.  "Single white female in search of inventive perspective. Touch of humor and dash of whimsy essential."  Too dry.

"Brazen wench seeks bizarre attitude. Prefer voice that laughs so hard it bleats."  Better.

Perhaps the voice is simply distracted today, not sure when to show up or what to do when it gets here.  I can always tell when it's having an identity crisis.  Every speck of dust in the house stands out.  They insist on obliteration.  The dust distracters appear most often when I'm on deadline.  They are more likely the editor's nemeses than mine.  Perhaps the reincarnation of a story she killed earlier, determined to haunt my writing.

Wait.  The voice was thinking of meditating.  Damn.  I hate it when it hangs out with that crowd.  Comes back all mellow.  No bite at all.  Might as well stay in that darkened room with the silly paintings on the wall.  A woman with sprouts coming out of her head.  A man playing a lute as he rides a unicorn.  Should be a warning sign.  "Artist on meditation, hide the paint."

But, I don't think the voice is meditating today.  I'm too calm.  It usually only mediates after we've had a disagreement.  Like the time we debated whether "The Little Engine that Could" really exists, or if it was just the author's way of trying to brainwash a couple generations of kids.  I won, of course.  I often do.  Then the voice pouts.  Could be for just a few minutes.  Sometimes for as long as a couple of days.

It comes back.  I'm convinced it misses me as much as I miss its quirky incantations.  Where did I find it last time?  Ah yes. At the keyboard.  Actually, I think it was hiding in the computer screen.  I had finished DEP--dust elimination procedures--and tackled all the weeds in the flower garden.  Thought the voice might be in with the June bugs.  Couldn't think of anyplace else to look, so I just turned on that sucker, and there it was. 

"Where were you?" it asked.  "I've been waiting." 

I know its wiles.  Trying to make me forget I'm angry that it's been in hiding. 

Perhaps it's in there again today.  I approach the computer, sneaking up on its blind side, so the voice doesn't sense I'm coming.  Once you turn on the computer, the voice can't escape.  Can still hide, of course. 

Aha.  There it is.

There's always an excuse for being away.  "I've been collecting my thoughts," it says. 

"Collecting or concealing?" I ask.  And we're on our way.

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