I Need Words

Tonight, some words.

The dryer’s running, and it’s hot in my office.  How the rain outside asserts itself into my space is hard to say, but it does.  I like rain, but I’m tired of it.  “No grumbling,” God’s word says, but grumbles pour in and out of my head before I hardly know they’re there.  I’m drinking too much coffee, too much sugar, scarfing too much bread, trying to squeeze out plot elements to make audiences weep and transform, writing rage and malice and that Christian word that sells best–hope.  We’ll see.

Now the dryer’s stopped, flashing an error message at me; F:03, which translated, means “too much water.”  I’d explain, but you’d be bored.  Bores me just to think about it.

Words.  Words are saviors of a kind.  It’s the oddest thing; until I type a thing, I don’t really know what I’m thinking.  At least not in a form as concrete as words reveal.  Writing is magic, pulling rabbits out of hats without knowing there are any rabbits in there.  Give me a subject.  Astronomy: a hundred billion galaxies traveling away from us and each other forever.  Coffee cups: It’s the hardest thing to find the one I want each morning.  There’s only one of them, and it wanders while I’m asleep…I’m sure of it.  Cell phones:  they’re mostly good as cameras and wasters of time.  Friends: better saviors than words, mostly because they use words.  Words that are not coming out of my own head.  Lots of folks have better words in their heads than I do.  Most folks, probably.

There are seven old messages on my phone, my ears are ringing, the taste of cracker’s in my mouth.  My foot is arched, I’m gritting my teeth (just noticed), and my hands pound away on the keys (people laugh at how hard I hammer my keyboard.)  Sentences built on three phrases seem to work pretty well.    As in: I’ve been looking at old pictures, reminding myself that God’s work’s been pretty good in previous years.  I’m hoping he keeps it up.   That wasn’t three phrases in a sentence.  Oh, well.  Sue me.

I was telling someone about my play.  He said, “Middle age white male has mid-life crisis.  I’m not spending my entertainment dollar there.”  He sounded like he was speaking for all America, for all theatre goers everywhere.  He’s a good friend.   It’s a sort of sucky time in history to be a middle age white male.   No sympathy?  Well, there you go.  As they say, and as my study of the Civil War tells me again, I guess we had it coming.  But here’s the thing: I didn’t think I was writing a play about a middle aged white guy suffering a mid-life crisis.  I thought I was writing a play about…oh, well it doesn’t matter, does it?

Hold on, I’m getting a cup of coffee.

If anybody’s read “Leaving Ruin”, does this sound like Cyrus?

It really is magic, though, isn’t it?  Some reality exists inside someone’s chest, and its a physical sensation with substance, and there’s no word for it, it’s just what it is.  So out come the words, comparisons, metaphors–for God’s sake, in God’s name, for God’s glory even, somebody give me something that can set this reality inside out there.  I want to stick it into your head, into your consciousness, into your experience so that…so that what?  Oh, who knows what this thing in my chest might do if I could sneak it over into yours.  Love, pain, joy, loneliness, dry mouth…are life’s felt realities common to us?  “No one feels like me.”   That, I don’t believe.

The magic of words.  Why am I so astounded?  I have no idea.  I cannot wrap my head around this all too common thing we do called communication.   Seems dumb to think about it; it’s pervasive and normal.  But it’s miraculous.  Water-into-wine miraculous.  Nothing-into-something miraculous.  If you are reading this just now, it’s a miracle, the most common thing in the world, that you’ve stumbled here, and you’re getting a bit of metabolic stuff to chew on and digest, or spit back out depending on how full you are at the moment.  Miraculous when we find things that pull us up off the floor, off the mat where we landed after the day’s haymaker.  (I’m mixing metaphors at the rate of a southern cook dropping ingredients into a casserole, but I don’t care.  I’m just making words tonight, looking for a couple to save the day)

So you’re wondering what’s the feeling inside my chest tonight?  Well, if you’re intuitive, you might think I’ve been knocked the mat, or wading through something I need to be saved from, or maybe just suffering from too much caffeine and sugar.   You’d be right about all that, but if I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much.   The God I visit with fairly often no doubt has my back.   In fact, it’s probably Him telling me to go get some words.   Get some good words, the best words I can find, produce, spit out, and toss your direction.

There you go.

Me trying to connect.  That’s what it means to sneak a word over to you.  A lifeline, a tether, a slim hold on togetherness.  Connection.  The great wide internet, the unseen racing of X’s and O’s so that we can have that sensation of not being alone on the planet.   It doesn’t quite have the oomph of skin to skin, eye to eye, and words landing on the physical structures of the ear, but something vibrates with all these words.  Resonates.  Connects.

Have some words…

2 Comments

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  1. Astronomy, Coffee, Cell Phones, Friends.

    Cyrus, all of America, entertainment, oh, well.

    Lifeline, togetherness, connection.

    Thanks for the words, Jeff.

    Something vibrates. Resonates.

  2. Our God is so wonderful! I believe He gave us words in order that we might comunicate with Him and with each other. Why did he confuse the languages at Babel? His creatures had quit communicating with Him. It was a visible sign of the separation that sin causes. I believe the tongues of fire at Pentecost were a visible sign that communication with God and man were restored through the gift of the Holy Spirit. May God continue to use your words to challenge and bless all your hearers.

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