She beats her fist on the secretary desk. Its ancient wooden arms bear her blows. This is the place where her great uncle sat writing his weekly sermons, the place where her grandfather, the professor, sat drafting his letters and lesson plans, and the place where her father sat recording his daughters’ accomplishments on his calendar. This desk is the place of performance, yet not for this writer. Not now . . .
Now as she sits, the pen drips ink, the ink bleeds upon the page; but there are no words, just smudges among pools of black. The writer’s stained fingers look as if she’s labored for hours, but the pages reveal only ink blots, illegible nonsense. Her hand crumples the paper and tosses it away. The wastebasket overflows as her efforts lay pointless. Another blank page sits before her, white and waiting.
I am the writer who imagines a much lighter task of freedom and exhilaration. Instead I face a pressing, demanding, unrelenting weight. This oak desk calls me to itself, its history, its place in my home. But now as I sit, I am an imposter—a fraud at my own desk. When does this change? When does my mind let go and my heart take over? When will my muse whisper?
Now is the moment I want my words and my images pressed into the pages of a book. Oh, words, will you just insert yourself into the pages without me having to think so much? Oh, words, would you just flow from the depths of my soul, displaying the essence of life lived? Would you cast yourself upon the pages before I overthink you into oblivion?
Now it seems too arduous to focus. My mind races to grasp a single coherent thought. My heart feels numb and immovable. My words, any slight expression of them, skip like pebbles across the page’s flat surface, rippling off the desktop, before sinking deep into the wooden floor.
“Dear writer, is now the kind of moment you’d like to press between the pages of a book, like flowers taken from some nostalgic scene flattened between thick, weighty pages? Those dried daisies, the symbol, you find years later, full of forgotten meaning. When were these flowers picked? Why did you lay them within this particular book? What did you want to remember?”
This writer is living day to day now—moment by moment. Those moments seem lost in her subconscious, unable to be retrieved or coaxed to the surface. She sits at her desk, the pen drips ink, the ink bleeds upon the page; but there are no words, just smudges among pools of black. When will the words be revealed upon the pages? When will that book open up and let itself be read?
I want to read it for myself . . .
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5 thoughts on “Why Not Now? by Maya Lear Brewer”
Such beautiful writing! I love the imagery expressed and the heartfelt musings of Maya Brewer.
Cat, Thank you for reading and responding. It means so much!
Even though I am definitely not a writer, your words made me feel like I was experiencing this with you, Maya. I will share this with my daughter who is a writer and had a few frustrating days recently where she couldn’t write anything.
Thanks, Robin! Hope it somehow encourages your daughter. She is definitely not alone!
Wow! Such fantastic writing. I feel such a sense of place and the intense pressure to produce. I’ve never seen a writer’s angst captured so beautifully. Bravo, Maya Brewer!