Raising Words

A woman who writes feels too much,
those trances and portents!
As if cycles and children and islands
weren’t enough; as if mourners and gossips
and vegetables were never enough.
She thinks she can warn the stars.
A writer is essentially a spy.
Dear love, I am that girl.

~From The Black Art by Anne Sexton

For as long as I can remember, words have been tangible. I could grasp them in my hands, feel their weight, taste them, smell them, devour them, and give birth to them. But my devotion to them has not been a constant. It’s waxed and waned over the years and during each waning, I’ve tormented myself over how to make them come alive again.

I suffocate from silence when I can’t release those words. They twist inside of me, clawing at me with a fierce rage. If not a writer, who am I? When those squiggly lines cease to create meaning, my very existence is put in jeopardy. I don’t want to write. I need to write.

I sit with fingers on the keyboard or a pen pressed against paper and I stutter. I can feel the words pushing from the back of my brain. I feel their struggle for freedom. And yet sometimes, I just can’t find the key to their cage. I try to pull them all out at once and end up in a bottlenecked frustration.

I must remember to breath. I can become so focused on freeing those words that I never notice I’m pushing them further back. When I relax and quiet myself, they filter out on their own. Like children, they move forward when they’re ready. My job is not to force them. My job is to encourage them.

Photo Credit


7 responses to this post.

  1. Your last line is so true — so encourage, not force, though as you’ve written, that’s not always the easiest thing to do. I am so glad you need to write, because I certainly love reading your blog. Esp. yesterday’s poem — wow-eee – zow-eee. You are good 🙂


  2. Hi Dayle! I’ve enjoyed reading all your posts this week! Good luck in the blogathon! 🙂


    • Thank you, Paula! So far, I’m staying a day ahead with my posts, but I’m hoping to knock out a few extras this weekend. Last year, I was all over the places . . . sometimes posting something stupid right before midnight 😛


  3. […] The most recent piece that was inspired by Anne Sexton was posted just a few days ago, Raising Words. […]


  4. Oh I love this post! I too really liked the comparison to children…not to force but encourage. Brilliant!


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