Tag Archives: Writing

Tidbit: Circe



Directed to the couch I swaddle myself in velvet and recline awkwardly.

I can hear my heart in my chest. Thud-thud thud-thud, it tells me. Thud-thud thud-thud.

One Hour

A spotlight shines from behind her. It illuminates her shadow on the canvas and forms a wall between us through which I can see faint outlines of paint and oil pastel. Thick phthalo blues and glowing desert oranges seep, faded, through the dusty cream of raw canvas. I want to stretch out on the couch. She scolds me if I move. I lie still. Still as the dead. The velvet smells like the elderly, and yet I lie still.

Two Hours

I think about her voice and how I haven’t heard it for an eternity now. The scolding would be worth it. I think instead about what I could say, what could prompt her from her reverie. Silhouettes of her arms move in a jagged dance across nowhere space. The canvas wobbles in an uneven bass beat and enhances my trance-like state. It’s nice, but not perfect.

If I spoke, the situation could change. It could go like this:

Me: You look like you’re dancing.

Her: It feels like dancing.

(That accent, the gentle vowels and clipped consonants  of the northern countries, distracts me more than her movements. In my thoughts she speaks slower than usual, drunkenly, purposefully. Her eyes are heavy-lidded.)

Me: Is it nice?

Her: It is frustrating.

But I don’t speak. I don’t dare.

I lie still, and I lend her my silence.

Three Hours

Something has changed. The scratching of the brush has ceased for a moment as she peers from behind the easel, kicking out her hip, a scowl of irritation lending her an almost Pre-Raphaelite appearance. Her hair has come undone and harsh halogen light dribbles over her shoulders in knotted, greasy curls. For a moment she looks like Circe, cruel and beautiful. The witch of Aeaea. I am helplessly enchanted and dozing on the couch, beneath her glare, I wait for her to speak.




I find myself terrified, most of the time, that I’m not a writer, and that I can’t write, and that this silent day-week-month-months-year will never end and I’ll never write another story.

I’m one of those people for whom a story doesn’t just fall out and rage across the page.
I have to work at it to get one page, one paragraph, one sentence.

The fact that it always breaks and I always write another story never eases the panic I feel when I find myself unable to write, whether for lack of inspiration, words, characters or plot.

It’s an infinitely more painful experience than any I’ve known throughout my life.

This was my dad’s response to this post:
“Some sage advice from a foot weary traveller upon the same arduous climb?
Revisit, rekindle, relinquish, rectify and relish. Take to your heart old literary loves, your older eyes will see anew that which your pubescent soul dismissed.
Renew your passion for the language, pop the juicy words loudly on your tongue. Gobble verbs, masticate nouns and sieve corpulent adjectives through your teeth. Never slake your thirst or sate your hunger.
Brandish swordlike the slick sharp steel of your vocabulary, curry no fear nor favour in your quest to slice open the arteries of creative expression.
Make it yours. However churlish, childish, covetous or controversial, own it.
Just. fucking. write.”