Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Writer's Life (05/13/10)
- TITLE: A Writer's Lament
By Timothy Klingerman
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Greeting the silence
Can I explain my ineptitude before the silence? It is like an awkward meeting with a vagrant who wants my pocket change. I try quickly to contrive some way to avoid the encounter, but I am unpracticed, incompetent for the task. Where should I focus my attention to avoid his eyes? What excuse can I find to cross the street as though it were a necessary part of my journey? But the silence anticipates me like the beggar. It knows I am weak to its approach and will yield my words, my thoughts, to its clutches like so many coins.
Fearing the cold
Deep and empty, but real and growing is the cold. Without the warmth of words, its power runs unchecked to fear. Though ever increasing, this fear never surrenders its power to terror. For terror is fleeting and thereby offers an escape. It either vanquishes its foe, or itself is vanquished, but the matter is settled in an instant. Not so, this fear. It is a deep, lasting, empty, unbreakable fear that the words, and the warmth, are forever absent.
Welcoming the darkness
How can I escape? The silence and the cold drive me to my lone refuge. The shadows embrace me, and my afflicted soul is drawn to the shelter of darkness. Words have failed, and the blackness is my unexpected friend. Were not my words written in ink as black as this? Perhaps all my words surround me now, set against a background equally black. If only the darkness could grow more black, the words in contrast might appear and bring me the comfort, the warmth, the words I so desire. But should I trust in ultimate darkness?
Seeing the light
There is one hope left, though I dare not hope. It is a light from above—too distant to be any real hope, but lovely as the day. Yet the chasm is too great, and I have sunken too deep in my wordless tomb. What man could cross from here to there? No man indeed, but a word! A spoken word could cross and warm the cold, break the silence, restore my hope. I look to the light and pray for a word—a word, not my own, but from the light—and what time passes I know not.
Hearing a word
Does my imagination produce the longing of my heart, or do I hear a word reign over the silence? In truth, it is a word! The sound comes from the shifting light to which I bend my mind, my heart, my soul, and hear a voice cry out, “Jeremiah!” My own name fills the void of the chamber. How often I have heard the Lord call my name from the light, though this is not the Lord, but my good friend Ebed-Melech. Again he calls, “Jeremiah, the king has commanded your rescue! Now, take hold of this rope, and we will lift you out of the cistern!” And as body and spirit rise from the pit, I know my life of words goes on.
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