(Not) My Writing Desk

Or is it?

Let’s narrow it down to places I am not physically writing, by which I mean typing on a keyboard in my home office or scrawling in illegible cursive in a journal on the couch in my living room or in some café or pub, fending off questions from bartenders in between pints of Guinness about what I’m writing, how he can get his manuscript published, etc.

If I am not physically writing, I am still writing because I’m doing it in my head. Remember that movie Stranger Than Fiction? Will Ferrell hears Emma Thompson’s voice in his head, incessantly narrating his life?

Welcome to my world.

I’m not narrating my life, gosh that would be dull as dishwater or sports. No, I’m playing with the sound of things or picking up a shiny wee object with the power of my mind and translating it into poem bling. I’m licking the fine sheen of sweat off the small of a lover’s back and thinking about the way I can describe it. I’m making a phone call and rehearsing the words for accuracy. I’m drinking a mug of Endless Sky and trying to find other words for malty sweetness.

I breathe, I write.

There is no not writing.

Except perhaps when feeling takes over:

Pain stops my brain and my writing. I have bowel obstructions because I do not have a colon (long story, I lost it instead of my life a decade ago). Severe scarring from the life-saving surgery result in occasional blockages that cause agony. Before the surgery, I was in the hallway in front of Operating Room #3 on a stretcher beside the trash can and composing a sonnet on my fingertips. I write when I am nervous. I write to help me deal with fears and anxiety. In other words, all the time.

I have synaesthesia and part of the effect for me is to see colour for different types of pain. A dull ache is green (sinus pain for example), a bruise is purple (influenced no doubt by actual bruises), a pain that radiates outward (a migraine) is orange. Sharp stabbing pains are white; they flash and sting: bowel obstruction, cuts, burns. You see, I am writing about pain.

Orgasms are brief moments where I am not thinking and therefore not writing. And to be honest, I don’t know that I’d have much to say about an orgasm.

Ever tried to describe it? The build up, yes – many people have likened an orgasm’s build up, realization and release to a wave. Even now I’m interrupting my own writing to read what others have written about women’s orgasms.

I am anxious these days about the state of the world. I feel helpless and I wake up too early, short of breath and anxious. When I am overwhelmed by sadness, horror and helplessness, I want to not think, and therefore not to write.

This writing desk is heavy as fuck. Some days I’d like to chuck the damn thing away.


Amanda Earl writes and tries not to in Ottawa, Canada. More info: AmandaEarl.com.

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