Words. They invade the temporal portion of my brain usually assigned to storing grocery lists, telephone numbers, doctor’s appointments, and what I had for dinner yesterday. Oh, did I mention they often wake me up at night, persistent, pressing, demanding, until I grab paper and pen? They never let me forget the pain I experience when I try to ignore them. Like an unborn baby impatient to break through the walls of confinement, they push and kick at the most inopportune moment. Never mind that I’m on the Thruway with cars whizzing past me, my toast has popped and I must butter it before it turns cold, or I’m in the middle of an electrical blackout, and I can’t find a pen or paper if my life depended on it. Words, once conceived, must be birthed, no matter what.
And so when delivery time comes, I’m forced to stop, take a deep breath, set aside everything I planned to do or needed to remember. Over the years, I’ve birthed many a word-child. It was not always an easy labor, and all too many times what I produced was “stillborn,” or unreadable and anemic, amateurish in substance and style. But being pregnant with words always ends in a labor of love, no matter how long and hard the travail or the result. And sometimes, when birth pains have spent their course, I’ve produced something that satisfies the reader… and me, except when it’s time to conceive again.