I’m celebrating a milestone birthday this year. I’m told that it’s a milestone because it has a zero in it, but it doesn’t feel especially extraordinary to me. According to my family and friends, this magical milestone means that my vision will soon deteriorate along with my confidence in driving at night followed unceremoniously by hearing loss (which I suspect my husband will secretly look forward to because my phenomenal hearing has always been my super power).
What compels us to sit down with a pencil in hand and stare at a blank page until words slowly start to come? Why do we agonize over each letter and syllable, reading sentences over and over again until they feel “just right”? Why do we struggle to create things that we know others are dying to tear down? Because we love to. We love the rhythm of words that have been carefully arranged. We love the quickening of our hearts when we stumble across a well-crafted passage or a single word that hit the mark so flawlessly it took our breath away. We all have books and authors that we worship, and favorite sentences and analogies that have brought satisfied smiles to our faces after we’ve read them. We see things, hear things, or dream things up that we feel compelled to share. And therein lies the rub.
Desmond threw open the heavy curtains covering the window.
“Good lord!” A woman cried from her sofa, raising her arms to shield her eyes. “What is that burning light in the sky?!”
“That, my lady, is called The Sun,” the manservant responded in a flat voice.
“But, my god, Desmond, it’s so… bright!” The woman said. “Be a dear and turn it down just a touch, would you?”
He raised an eyebrow imperceptibly.
The cat stares and licks its lips. A fat, gray ground squirrel moves slowly through the grass towards the feeder.
Step, step – wait.
Step, step – wait.
Its small black eyes shine as it looks from left to right, sensing danger but unable to find it.