When I pick up a pen and scratch it across the page, I ask myself, "and what lies shall I tell today?" Often, I don't mean to tell the lie. It just happens by mistake, like I tripped over a word and landed on another one. Somehow, that mistaken word looks better on the page, tastes better when it rolls off the tongue, feels good when I get back up and stand on it as though it were the sturdy, solid, undeniably real truth. Pretty soon, I'm weaving one hell of a tale, tripping over little white truths and landing on something much softer and dreamier, like clouds. And then that's what I'm standing on: clouds. Just thin, substanceless wisps of air, and I'm running through them, making it all up as I go. The scene has changed, and it's not on the boring ground anymore, but actually floating around up in the sky! Imagine, a whole world made up of beautiful fluffs of clouds, and a falling idiot of a woman, plunging through each one.
People say, "Doesn't she know she's falling? Doesn't she know she's going to hit the ground and shatter into a million pieces? What a mess it's going to be! Who does she expect to clean it up?"
And when I plummet the last inches of space between where I was and where I was running off to, when I hit the sturdy ground that never went anywhere while I was losing myself in the clouds, I blackout, and then wake up confused. "Oh, that's right!" I say. "I fell from the sky."
Now, that's a story to tell. So I go on telling such an interesting lie, that I forget that I tripped like a foolish klutz and ended up where I was never supposed to be in the first place.
But sometimes I'm a bit more grounded. I scribble for a bit until I say, "I don't like this one." I'm tempted to rip it from the notebook, crumple it up, and play basketball with the waste bin. Never wrote it. Never thought those things. I stake no claim to those words.
Now, don't go digging through my trash just to call me a liar. Even I don't want to see what I've been throwing away in there. Some people's trash is dirtier than others. Mine is garbage--a filthy sounding word if there ever was one: garbage. "Fuck" sounds positively flowery and sweet by comparison.
A bad poem or story tossed away is a sad thing, I know. It's like hating one of your children. You can't even try to fix it, to undo the damage you've carelessly inflicted upon it before it turned into this obscene mess. Where did it even start to go wrong? What was the first mistake? It's not that way in the beginning, after all. At least, it didn't look like it was going to turn out this way. Each fetus of a poem or creative story looks just like the next; a clumsy bundle of words thrown together into something resembling coherent thought, strung loosely together with the next, which is supposed to express some frustrated emotion, begging to be expressed, or some intense, burning moment that you've experienced that you want to paint into a perfect portrait, which will capture it with authenticity. But it comes out all wrong. Now it's just some trite love poem for someone you're longing for, that only manages to look like a desperate call for his affection once again; "Look, I wrote a poem about us! Can I come over again tonight? Please?" It looks obsessive, when you meant it to be passionate. It looks pathetic, when you wanted it to look bold and striking. It mocks you, and embarrasses your attempts to express that still frustrated emotion, begging for release.
If I could just tell at the beginning how it's going to come out, when it's an unidentifiable blob, perhaps it wouldn't seem so cruel when I throw it away and absolutely deny that it ever happened. Because, what kind of mother throws her babies into the garbage?
It's just that, sometimes, the things I create, the fruits of my labors, just don't come out like a baby is supposed to. Sometimes it's a hideous beast, and I hate looking at it, wondering how such a thing managed to inherit every piece of me that I don't want to show--a chimera of my deepest, darkest flaws.
Sometimes a mother just can't look her own child in the eye. It's better this way, tossed aside, like I don't care about it at all. It's alright. I'll start over. I'll make another one into a portrait that I can bring myself to look at.
About the Person Manipulating the Mouse and Keyboard
- Ma'ayan Dyer
- Jerusalem, Israel
- I write about being Jewish, but not being born Jewish, living in the Jewish homeland, longing for living in the Jewish homeland when I'm not living there, Jewish holidays, customs, ideas, thoughts, and the occasional thing that has nothing to do with anything Jewish. But mostly, this blog is very Jewish.