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Say Something About Child’s Play
The soldier asks the boy: Choose which
do I cleave? Your right arm or left?
The boy, ten, maybe nine, says: Neither,
or when I play, like a bird with a broken wing
I will smudge the line of the hopscotch
square, let the darkness in.
The soldier asks again: Choose which
do I cleave? Your right leg or left?
Older in this moment than his dead father, the boy
says: Neither, or when I dance the spirit dance,
I will stumble, kick sand in the face of light.
This boy says: Take my right eye,
it has seen too much, but leave me the left,
I will need it to see God.
As writers, there are characters, images, or settings that haunt us. They thread throughout our beings. When we unearth the tale behind them, we see what they see, know what they know, and experience what they feel. We may have had that one character, image, or setting that just won’t let us go.
When we interact with our world, we use that “third eye” perspective, that writing intuition that documents every detail in a unique form of expression. It is what sets artists apart from the rest of the world.
For me, it was a character, a mother who faced losing her children. Her story stayed with me, and I am still struggling with how to tell it. Another image has been the loss of something important like an idea or an institution. I keep seeing a person losing her notion of an idea or institution, and as it disintegrates images of what that idea has been float around her in slow motion. It’s like in the movies when someone is about to get shot, and the person’s life flashes before their eyes as he or she is about to lose it. The person feels the same way as her fairytale notions of this idea are being destroyed.
Again, the images are there, but I need to weave them into a narrative. Ahh, the task of the writer!
What characters, images, or settings from either what you have written or read remain with you? How do you interpret your world as a writer or artist?