Injecting Life


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 Injecting Life

The twisted little body lies on the slab. So far that’s all it is, just a lifeless rag. I’ve put a suture here and there to string pieces together in an effort to make the body whole. There are a few loose ends, but those will heal once the life begins.

I have a whole ward of these lifeless little things. Some of them could be beautiful; some of them could be powerful. All of them are mine. The only thing missing from each one is a beginning sentence.

These special little wads of bodies are ideas that I’ve had for stories. They pop in my head at random times, sometimes uncanny in their ability to find the most inappropriate moments to show up. I can be in the middle of a sentence during a conversation with a complete stranger when one of these ideas knocks on the door and says, “Guess what!” Or I can be deeply immersed in reading an amazing book, except for the split second when I hear, “Sort of like what happened to me.” Music brings them, pictures bring them, people walking down the street bring them. One time an idea spoke so loud I woke up from sleep in the middle of the night to listen.

I take the idea and lay it on a slab, gluing it down with my ink and a promise saying, “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back,” and usually I do come back and fiddle with it a little more. Occasionally, though, they get tired of waiting on me and go on to find someone else with more time—but for the most part, they wait patiently.

So I look at this one particular idea and see the marks of where I have tried to find the right sequence of words to inject into its veins that will open its eyes. I see a lot of needle marks, but still the eyes have not opened. There was a flutter one time, for a split second. This poor little waif is in two parts, and the second part is set. The first sentence of that scene caused the eyeballs underneath the lids to roll in a curious REM fashion, but they did not open. The first part is not there yet.

From all the words that exist in language today, there has got to be a combination that will work to open these eyes. And so I will continue to look for the perfect fit, that special key that will give life to this story. Then I can move on to the next.

Nandy Ekle

The Brick Wall


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Brick Wall

In writing my story, I have smacked into a brick wall. I never even saw it. I was just bopping along, taking dictation from the characters who talked and acted while I wrote it all down. I was in “the zone” and everything moved smoothly. Then, POW! The wall appeared and knocked me so hard the characters temporarily lost their voices.

As I sat on the ground and looked up at the brick wall that had suddenly grown in front of me, I looked back at the steps that brought me here. Good intro/prologue, consecutive chapters that built on each other, plenty of twists and turns, and enough hints of the future to keep it interesting. And then, in the middle of an intense scene, nothingness.

Now, it’s not as if the whole thing disappeared from behind the wall. I still hear voices and I know what should happen next. So I mentally changed my visual of the problem from a brick wall to a bridge over a river, only the center of the bridge is broken. Now I can see the characters on the other side motioning for me to join them, but there’s no way to get past the gaping hole.

I take words out of my tool kit and try to fill in the missing part of the road, but the words are hollow and unstable. Still, the characters urge me to keep trying.

As a writer, I cannot leave them alone on the other side of the bridge without me for long. As a writer I will have to get to the other side, even if I have to jump over the broken part of the bridge. And, as a writer, I know I can’t wait forever to do it. So I put my hands on the keyboard—pen to the paper—and just write words.

Congratulations. You have received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle