I See The Jewel But Don’t Have The Pickaxe? Metaphors. Yep.

frustrated

I’m a writer.

I’m an amateur. A novice. I have yet to put in the hours of grueling work to become a master at it. I’m working on it, but I’m not there yet.

This is very frustrating. I wish I could convey how frustrating it is, to want to be able to write beautiful, flowing prose right now, but not being able to. I suppose it’s like a magician’s apprentice trying to fabricate illusions and then have a dove poke out of a sleeve, or hidden cards spill out from pockets, much to the disgust of the audience. A bumbling fool so desperate to showcase real magic, instead of cheap, flimsy tricks.

But I could live with that, if it weren’t for the wonderful fancies that pop into my mind.

Now, I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet here, ideas are nothing without execution, without transmutation into reality. A blueprint isn’t a house, you’ve got to fill up the ether with bone-boards and flesh-plaster to make it anything more than a piece of paper.

Nevertheless, I get some pretty good ideas for stories and novels. I have good taste. I know they’re good. Really good, sometimes. I get that wonderful, shivery surge of creativity, and the nebulous cloud begins to condense into a fascinating premise, and I know, in some metaphysical region of my soul, that, damn, this is good.

So then I try to write it.

And promptly fall flat on my face.

I can’t bring the world I see in my mind to life on paper. The characters wheeze and flutter like baking-paper dolls. The dialogue is clunky and stilted. It just doesn’t work, and I know as I write it that it doesn’t work, and oftentimes I just feel like crying, because I know it’s great, but I can’t make the greatness into a thing, something tangible outside of my head.

I see the jewel, but I don’t have the pickaxe, the right tools. It’s winking at me, the ruby, from the wall, just waiting for me to extricate it from its stone tomb, but I can’t, I can’t reach it, I can’t get it out, and damn is it frustrating.

The ideas coil temptingly within my mind, like jeweled pythons, hypnotizing me with their slit-eye glares, their flashing reptilian skin, and sometimes they’re so wonderful I can’t breathe, so wonderful I can only smile, so wonderful that I am in awe of how creativity works, awe of the power of the imagination, delighted, and yet the bright, beaming balloon always falls to the earth and deflates in a disappointing splutter.

It’s a feeling of impotency and inadequacy. It’s having these beautiful, cryogenically-frozen babies and being unable to thaw them out of their frozen state. It’s hacking away at a marble lump and creating a deformed, humanoid shape instead of a rippling-muscle Adonis. I feel so powerless and inadequate and useless that it makes me wonder if I’m cut out for this at all.

Maybe I can only spot the jewel, and notify others so they can dig it out. Maybe I can draw up the blueprint, but only others can build the house. Maybe I’m just ideas and no products, all wind and no substance. Maybe I can write the songs, but don’t have the voice to sing them.

It makes me feel really bad about myself, and hopeless. But I’m not going to stop practicing. I don’t know why. I just won’t. I just won’t, out of sheer determination, and maybe a dash of hope. I’m just going to keep going, until the flesh withers from my fingers, and my eyes plop out of my skull. Then, and only then, will I stop, will I give up, because time will have swallowed me and spat me out, a skeleton.

Who knows. Maybe they’ll hear a tapping beneath the grass at the cemetery, and find a couple of finger bones still tapping at a keyboard.

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4 thoughts on “I See The Jewel But Don’t Have The Pickaxe? Metaphors. Yep.

  1. Great imagery. It seems as a novice writer, as I am, it’s hard to tell if your “stuff” is good enough or makes sense. I guess that’s where I feel I need someone to read and give input but I haven’t yet run across someone to do that, honestly. For now, I am just sending my writing to contests, hoping for feedback also, and see what happens. Writing my memoir was grueling and being my first it’s scary. I constantly critique it, especially when the print version came to me and I found typos that needed correcting. UGH! I started to doubt the entire book. I simply had to correct them and move on. It’s hard. I think I’ll stick to poems and short stories. Full-length books makes me nervous. Thanks for your post.

    • Hello 🙂 I’m glad you liked it. Yes, I know exactly what you mean. It’s so hard to judge it properly – one minute I think I’m cranking out brilliant stuff and then the next day I reread it and think it’s absolute rubbish. But I suppose some intuitive part within us knows, whether we face it or not, whether it’s any good or not, and if we need to improve on it. I often find that the critique I receive highlights problems areas my gut already knew were there but my brain ignored. I wish you a million times good luck and happiness with your writing. 🙂

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