Writing: the Blocks

Writing: the Blocks

“and everything here like an incomprehensible explanation”

-Arkadii Dragomoshchenko-


There are those times of overwhelm.  Edit?  Create?  Organize?  Submit?  Wander about (for “inspiration”)? or sit and stare (“meditation”)?

There are those times.  So much written, nothing sold.  Years of working, thinking, learning, feeling…orphaned.  Turned away.  Left out.  Sent back.


Here’s the open field and some more ever-uncertain time.  Feels fragile.  I feel I should be making, arranging words toward unknown meanings or inferences, but I’m also drowning in them – so many of my own, millions of others as well.  Approved words, theirs, successful words, words now “bound,” where mine (I try the positive) are “free,” “independent,” “loose”… not owned by any other hands or minds.

But the words seem to want it.  They emit their own desires.  For partners, for dances, for strolls.  Attachment.  They even like to work!  Anything at all – they just want to be, active.

Mine aren’t.  They jimmied their way around my emotions and spleen; infested every nook, cranny and fold of my brain; strained my throat and cramped my hand…but once I’d rid myself of them – sealed them between the bars of blue lines, they began to wither and starve.  Atrophy.  My words – these voiceless victims.

They’ve got plenty of company all lined up and folded together – hell, they’re stacked on top of each other…but they need human parts for life.  Need eyes and mouths, lungs and ears, hands and minds, perceptors, receivers and nerves.  I look down on them all like leaves from last winter, or hidden away in mausoleum-like drawers.  I feel sorrow.

There are zillions of others – exactly the same as mine but for their order – speeding all over the world – through wires and lights – through voices, canals – held gently in hands – slick and shiny on mags – proclaimed on billboards and signs.  But not mine.  Not these innumerable identical versions but for my script, my experience, my faulty manipulation.

What gives?

What gives at these moments, these gulag-ish terms of withholding and stasis?

A letter or email perhaps.  A talk with my wife or my sons or my daughter.  A glance at a spine or a page.  Some music with lyrics.  A friend.  They are moving, alert.  Every-ready for use.  In use.  Wording their function.  My continued submissions might be jail-breaks for them.  My blogs and my posts and my readings.  The phone calls.  We could try it?  See how they still work?

Or even something like this.  This query of what do they want?  Working them into myself.  Materializing them.

I don’t know.  I don’t know if it helps.  I can’t tell at this moment.  They seem stuck.  And yet not.  Here they are, ever coming, ever becoming, nothing.

Like us.  Maybe I’m stuck.  Becoming nothing (inevitably) but becoming nonetheless, all the while.

I guess I’m suggesting that there’s really no such thing as stasis or block in living beings.  Regardless what or who or how, we’re becoming (the 5 Ws all taken care of).  Now & Here all five essential questions are active whether I write down answers or not.  As long as we breathe.  Work is going on.

And words, so eagerly activated.

N Filbert 2012


I didn’t get around to performing the Friday Fictioneers prompt-100-word-story this week…having gotten sidetracked by a prompt that has haunted me all week from the writings of Lynne Tillman…finally, something worked out of me related to this… as follows:


“in an embrace, something may be confirmed, avoided, or resolved”

-Lynne Tillman-

            A kind of “there was.”

Sinking into his arms, strong and coily, warm almost gruff.  The dusty smell of oil and denim.  She felt small, she felt memory.  She closed her eyes as in sleep, and allowed.  So much to confront and to question, perhaps to ignore, but now, just this now, this embrace.

He’d wounded her for years.  Secretly whittling strips from her heart with a scalpel.  Holding her mind under liquids and spells, the sky and its stars, overwhelming her with presence while silently working dissection.  His voice anesthetic, a narrative of dreams.  She was victim.

And part of her knew.  Wanted.  Would rather.  She with her own confused expectations, demands.  Her ownership.  Defiance.  Some part of her vision selected this blur.  Macroscopic.  Details out of focus, the essence of place.  Embrace.


She had shouted, threatened.  He had thrown.  She began her crumbled march as he grabbed her.  He corded her in arms, shackled her to his chest.  She, unable to move, to breathe.  A little dizzy.  Anger and fear.  Him holding.  Him safe.  He panicking.  It held.  The embrace.

She struggled, she sobbed.  She squirmed and struck out.  Refused.  He held.  He tightened.  As if in a last expiration, the lungs clinging life.  She stabbed and she stabbed and she stabbed.  He bled.  He held.  A braced embrace.

Eventually collapsing.  Exhaustion disabled the leaving, dismantled the stay.  Floor and furniture took them in and supported.  And held by receiving their burden.  Stasis.  Time, embraced.


That morning – the fog – the waves – all the greying of sands.  They’d wandered alone for solitude’s space.  To be lost.  Unbeknown.

A moist, briny chill had embraced him.  Swallowed him up.  Become him.  Immersed, he released.  Saturate, evaporate.  Began.  Unwinding like a mummy’s cloth he disrobed.  His anguish, his anger, his hope.  Dissolving out to sea in trails.  Emptied.  Cleaned with a salty sludge, he weighed.  He grew heavy.  He blended in with the mist.

Enough moisture to formulate drops, her tears joined the air.  Embracing herself through the wind off the water she shook and she stumbled, she clutched.  Unseeing, she fumbled along. Desperate.  Undone.  Like the thick cover of sky, her past and her present, her future combined and ran away down the rock.  She was hollow.  Held only by her arms, her hair keeping her head in its place.  She wept out her body until drained like a sieve.  The charcoal of sands embraced her.  Falling.


The hesitancy.  Two scarred bodies full of wounds, slowly exposing.  The want for another.  A crave and a care.  Some tendering need to devour.  They approach gently, allow touch, speaking perimeters.  A leg crosses over.  Eyes keep locking and unlocking with an almost audible click.  Food is had.  Hunger remains.  They move and they walk, learning hands and arms and shoulders.  They gaze.

Arriving at last at embrace.  Caressing the soreness of worlds.  They mate at their bruisings.  It becomes more.  Ravenous and fearful, they struggle.  Wrestling and huddling, they carefully voice every play.  The directions.  No pain is no gain.  And they gain.

Become more in the matching – four legs and eight limbs, doubling heartsize and brains, and they fitted.  They enter, they receive.  Exposing and sheltered.  In opening wounds they are bandaged.  They had not believed, they were doubt.  This, a healing embrace.  A beginning.


In death they are laid side by each.  Before long the roots will take over, a tendrilled combine.  The skin will grow lax and more fluid, the moss and the mold remedy.  Bones become ashen and dust.  Filtering one for another.  Transposed.  There will be one flesh, this earth, the conglomerate of bodies and beings with rain, moon and sunshine.  Planted there, embraced in all that will hold.

They take to the breeze like powder and spark.  Knuckles and teeth cackling the stones.  A huffed form of cloud, they merge, they seep.  Skein on the water, grain on the leaves, one and the other, the other again.  No one can tell.  Salt sugar sand shaken together and forever sifting.  Their love, their lives, its embrace.

N Filbert 2012