I woke up this morning with scribbled, almost illegible notes on my bedside yellow pad - "let it echo back and forth," "Juncus effusus? "get to be sad," "look up synonyms for inadequate," "relentless," "Florida redbelly cooters," "value in the world."
Sometimes I have a whole, polished, nicely done as far as I can tell essay written, and I still don't know what it's about. But I poke and think and revise and highlight a word or phrase that has a certain energy to it and then wake up in the night with the answer. Now, I can make the essay do its job.
Thankfully, this time, with this essay, still at the it's-all-down-there-on-the-page early revisions stage, I have at least a clue. I knew it was about being a swimmer, but "stuff" about disability and writing kept showing up. Where was the thread, the deep meaning that connected it all? Last night, as I, mostly asleep, wrote, I knew. Today I decipher handwriting and translate the best I can into the imagery of the essay.
If you're looking in my window all you see is me sitting propped up on my writing bed and bent over the computer on my lap. Perhaps you notice how the little dog's sleeping breaths push into the small of my back. It's a quiet scene. But don't miss the jerks of excitement, the thrill of getting the right phrase that makes me stretch my arms high over my head, and the long blank looks out into the street and yard as I let a layer of understanding settle inside me. Really, there's a party going on. See, there's me grabbing up the little dog and kissing her head - which means I've come up with a lovely transition from one paragraph to another.