by Gabrielle L. Ricafrente (Blue_Notebook)
Sometimes, upon closing my eyes to search for muses inside a place so dark and empty as my thoughts, letters of the alphabet would loom before me as gargantuan elements. With my corporeal eyes closed tight, my mind’s eye bulges and shifts wildly. And I watch as my spirit grows sweaty second after second inside that inescapable claustrophobia brought by coagulated letters and words.
It goes to say that, most of the time, what is quintessential and aureate can become odious and Cimmerian. Perhaps triggered by inadequacies rising like underwater bubbles in an ocean of unexplored potential; writing, being the sword that it is, divest itself of the sheath and, instead of lending me the handle, cuts me with its blade as if renewing a rusty pact and threatening me with madness lest I forget to honour it. Like body and spirit, each complements the other. Just as how the dim board of the night made it possible for stars to burst into a garden of ethereal lights.
But it is true, too, that words and letters elude me. Although they spill out of my fingertips and expand to fill blank papers, they remain to produce an eerie grating sound of metal against metal. Because they are not too forgiving when forced to adorn pages for the mere reason of compliance or recognition. They rebel, grinding down and gnawing at my veins, yielding results like opuses of blotted paper. Comprehensibly dumb and desultorily pleasing. In an instant, the words grow claws and scratch at the empty sheets with the desperate, blood-curdling screams of an uninspired muse. And though pages are full to the brim, what’s written in them is nothing but lines and curves, yawning as dark crevices to the eyes of the host, who wasted nothing but time. Other writers call this the “writer’s block”, that undefinable moment when the mind mimics the blankness of an open document for hours or days or weeks. I call it the “silence of the sirens”. The immeasurable hush of written words irrespective of their phonetic genius. That ghastly mute in a sea of sentences where waves once were crashing against sand and sand crumbling beneath the water’s momentous caresses, soft and salty to the curious proboscis of a passing stranger.
The rebellion of literature is harsher than the passing tantrum of a lover. It does not differ from trying to grapple with the fleeting quality of time. No matter how hard you squeeze at its liquid existence, it will escape through the cracks of your fist and race through the lines of your palm back out into the surface. The letters cackle, mocking as I try to stick them together into lifeless words, and the words howl in laughter as I try to stitch them into colourless sentences. And they laugh, for they wish to sing and bedizen papers with melodic rhythms that will be the envy of Mozart or Liszt. That will make Chaucer dance and enable Dostoyevsky to tango with Bacchus.
They jeer at me, these elements of prose and literature. A room plastered with wallpaper of eyes carrying distinct individual irises glowering at my incompetence to let their tinctured visages slip out of my fingers at all times. They jeer at me, these elements of prose and literature. All because I married them and couldn’t handle their barrage of coquetry. The teasing voices, the flirtatious fleeting images, the bouquet of sensual scents, and the platter of free-to-taste victuals. It is like being trapped inside the kingdom of woodland sprites. Only that here, I have to dance and dance and be the instrument myself to accompany their phantasmagorical descant. I shall smile with my spouses around me, holding the chain of flowers that fetters my ego. Because even though I and these words do not get along sometimes, we agree on one thing. And that is to give birth to music and art through writing, offer escapism and hope through writing, and create beauty despite blunt realism using morphology, syntax, phonetics, and stylistics.
Credits to John Bauer for the illustration used.