The words are alive with the sound of unreasonableness. They are active little creatures and while I want them to be alive and active, I also need them to be cooperative. They are, however, tiny little children, hellions determined to do everything in their power to make my morning difficult.
I’ve been wrestling with them for months, trying to pin them down in at the very least a three count so I can finally hold my hands high in triumph. But every time I think I have them in the right position they slip my grasp and I’m unable to hold them in place. And when I do grasp them for a few minutes, they will not relent. They give me unfinished phrases, thoughts with no endings, unbalanced finality.
I stare at the page, a blank sheet which looks like the proverbial polar bear in a snow storm. Somewhere, a sentence laughs.
They are petulant as well as obstinate. I have brought them together in entire paragraphs only to have sentences rebel against me and demand to leave the fold or be moved to a better position. The sentences fight me at every turn, refusing to stand where I want them to, turning their backs on me just when I think I have them complacent. At times the sentences break up into words, scatter about aimlessly so what once seemed cohesive becomes a jumble of bratty kids all wandering the toy aisle unattended. It’s all noise and slobbering mess and I become tempted to round them up, throw them outside and pretend I was never with them.
They demand. They want to be dressed better. They want to be more formal. They want smoother edges sometimes and other times they cry for more jagged, pointed ends. They want to be held up, prodded, lifted by the other words and then they turn around and demand to be let go, leaving everything around them floundering, drowning in a pool of adverbs and adjectives that were meant to save them, not sink them.
I try, but I just do not know what they want. They cry to me. The paragraphs, the sentences, the words. They want to be put together. They want to form a more perfect union. Then why do they fight me so? I grab them all, force them together and when one full sentence protests, I shrink it down, it loses ungainly weight as I work on it and then suddenly it cries out for that weight back and I can’t, I can’t deal with the indecisiveness anymore so the backspace key comes in, a stretcher underneath the body of the sentence, carrying the words out one at a time until it’s gone, time of death pronounce to be not a moment too soon. There’s no time to mourn, there are other words, other entire paragraphs that need the stretcher and soon they are crying, wanting to be rescued or put out of their misery.
There’s a great, big nothing here on this white page. Just a vast, hollow emptiness accompanied by the sound of snickering words laughing off camera.
I will find them. I will make them obey. They will cooperate.
But not today. Today is for polar bears in the snow.