October 17, 2010

To Write Like Music

Would that I could write like music. A single piano to stir our hearts and make the most bitter cry tears of joy. The aria of the electric guitar to boil our blood and make the tired crowds scream with excitement. The endless reverberation of taiko drums to shake our bones and make the deepest sleepers dream of supernovas. I wish I could write lines like that.

I have only humble letters on pages. With them I search for the star heart of feeling, of longing, love, and sadness, of joy, rage, pain, and bliss. I paint pictures of a hundred-thousand words, always knowing them incomplete, trusting the mind to fill in the missing. I seek the depths of a human soul and know it to be bottomless. And I dream of writing words like music.

I would capture the strike of every raindrop, the brush of every leaf against leaf, the voice of the wind and the tone of sunlight. I would know the sound of heartbeats and breath coming fast and the silence of palms pressed together in prayer. I would tell it to you, if I but knew how. It is a dream ever undone, never unworthy.

There is a hollow place inside my chest I seek to fill. I want to gather a thunderstorm and compress it into my hands, a whirling, stirring, striking, calling cage of lightning. I want to swallow it down and let it light me up so that I might finally be. I want to hear it all roaring in my ears and passing away into calm. I want to feel so that I might know peace. I want the crescendo and what comes after, like in the songs. I want to have it and to know it and to share it and to give it away and to lose it and to remember it.

But I could never play. I could never read the music. I can only listen and wonder and seek other ways to know the aching call of love and sorrow and fear. I press my palms in prayer for what I know does not come. Fold my fingers over and together and hang on, hang on, hang on to this nothingness, this everything.

There is color in the music, light and smell and taste and touch, like in the wind or wave. In it are all the sounds of the breeze in the grass, the meadowlark, the oak, and the ocean. From this we call ourselves human. Oh, we may think and reason, walk upright and speak, too much usually. But it is in the music we feel and share that feeling. We break our own hearts, scatter the pieces, and put them back together again with the shards of other people's hopes and dreams. We make beauty out of thin air for no other reason than it is beauty.

Would that I could write like that.

No comments: