Sometimes words desire too much order and structure, so I resort to disposable writing — writing meant to be purged and left unseen. Often times it is a desire to convey beauty and love, feelings that remain challenging, easier shown through gestures and relationships, especially in novel writing. To be struck by an intense emotion — the feeling of watching the sun rise or my daughter’s face unfold in the morning — and to put it on paper like a blast of warm air feels imperfect, at worse, corny.
I keep my waning prose separate from my novel writing. Recording them, however, I notice patterns; apparently I am struck by the magnitude of life, as if there were an imaginary, linear line from beginning to end. Perhaps because I have witnessed both birth and death. The first inhale of my children as they were pulled from my body, to the last breath of my father’s, rattling in his lungs like a graffiti artist shaking cans of paint, desperate to make his mark before slipping into the night. All drawn with survival and fear, but only one had the frequency of letting go. Of finality.
And then there are days when I am drunk with the extravagance of life even in its misery and grief; when the warm skin of my husband’s and the cold breath of winter is one in the same. When I’m able to view the world in its entirety, just as I do my father — as flawed as he was glorious, fearful as he was fearless, full of love and restrictions, passion and limitations and complications. The ripe, tacky brew of what it means to be alive. There are days when I can weep for the gloriousness of it all, like when I woke the other morning to my youngest daughter clinging to me. My lips drawn to her full cheeks as light filled the room with her favorite color.
We went outside together to watch the sun rising. And for a moment, we inhaled the candy colored clouds in silence and awe, filling ourselves with the sweetness of life. Unconcerned about the flaws, as planes clawed color from the sky, breathing in the entire spectrum of ephemeral beauty.
These disposable writings – the ephemeral words – can feel like lame exercise steps found in magazines, seemingly not amounting to much, until you look back over time and it’s the breath of daily life, from gratitude to misery and everything in between. And suddenly these embedded words don’t feel quite so ephemeral.