Home » When the Waiting Has You Clawing the Walls

When the Waiting Has You Clawing the Walls

“The essence of writing is not control, but release…. When writing is going well, it is not like pushing. It’s like falling. You fall the way you do in dreams.” 

Bonnie Friedman, Writing Past Dark


So you wait. 

Maybe you stand, sit, pace the floor some more and try to unravel more of the mystery barely felt, subdermal and somehow, you sense, preexistent. How had you never noticed that urgent hum in its insistence before? Or maybe you had just chosen to forget.

And you know you must continue to wait. For the pieces to line up, the pattern to become discernible, emerging like a shape through fog into words that spool out tripping, then slowing to a stop.

And so you’ll wait for it, protecting this space. Believing it will happen is all you know to do, so you go make your second cup of coffee, taking trust with you as your feet carry you downstairs, the same old step creaking beneath your weight to remind you to consider cause and effect. The sun glancing in the window from a perfect 92.96 million miles away is just more proof. The energy is stored and expended in balance, symmetrical and perfect. Light given, sight received. Words formed, knowledge gained.

So you’ll wait. Your life attests to not much else after all. Relating what you know and nothing more for this will be your witness, at least you think. A thin knife splitting before from after will divide all you longed for into possessed and dispossessed, and the shocking reversal will only continue as you see how much you thought you needed has made you only poorer.

When will it all be revealed? And why do you want to know? And what is this questioning of everything, and how did you come to believe answers should be given, or even could? And what is now your business if you no longer believe that?

Are empty tombs proof, and is mystery evidence of devils, or just Mondays? Were questions defeated with death or deepened? You rush to answer questions and destroy the greater treasure.

The kettle creaks as the heat fills molecules and sends them skittering to suggest the glint of a cold fact: experience will surface your every destined revelation in the proper time and sequence. You do not presage their arrival for the boiling point of every thought is but an equation of volume plus heat plus time.

You know now you should have stuck to writing shorter pieces.

But there’s no unthinking the questions, no unhearing the song faintly heard. So now crush the seeds and now pour the water and now take your cup back creaking at every preordained place to patiently reverence this chance of now once again. You will finish this. This line will be traced and your truth will finally out.

If you just wait now.

For the higher purpose,


13 Responses to “When the Waiting Has You Clawing the Walls”

  1. suzee B says:

    OMG! MICK! all these perfectly perfect written words. you should go immediately work on your novel. you are IN THE ZONE. go! quickly!!! for example: ” is mystery evidence of devils, or just Mondays?”
    excitedly with love,
    suzee B

    • Mick says:

      Ha! I did just that. Thanks for the affirmation, my greatly-loved friend! – M

  2. ann cavera says:

    Great column! Thanks so much for writing exactly what I needed to read today.

    • Mick says:

      Ann, I’m so glad you can use it. May you feel the wind lifting your thoughts ever higher. =) M

  3. Mick, I relate well to your words: “You know now you should have stuck to writing shorter pieces.”
    I was wondering the same thing about my own writing until I read this and realized–anew–longer pieces (memoir, novel etc) are comprised of “shorter pieces.”
    Whatever the length of the book train, each chapter, paragraph, sentence, or word is carried forward by the conductor’s voice, worldview, and experience. And these cars are connected by a specific universal theme and unique story that only the author can write.
    I’m going to go back and self-edit each train in my car that carries my story forward; I’m going to ditch the cars that don’t.
    Keep writing.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Mick says:

      Wow. That’s a beautiful word picture. Hope you write/edit those shorter pieces today. I’ve been remembering Anne Lamott’s “1-inch frame” in Bird by Bird. Your train cars sounds like a parallel thought worth more exploring! Thanks, Wendy!

    • Mick, I did edit a blog and a podcast piece; however, I should have edited my comment on your blog before posting it. Here’s the edited section: I’m going to go back and self-edit each car in my train that carries my story forward; I’m going to ditch the cars that don’t.
      Thank you for reminding me of Bird by Bird. Anne’s book is the reason I was able to finish my first novel draft and memoir draft. I need words like hers and yours to keep me going. Plus I appreciated quotes by others such as: “You can’t edit a blank page” and “Just finish the book.” I’m not sure who said these, but I love them.
      I need to reread Bird by Bird because I need a kick in my pocket protector so I’ll finish my self-editing and then hire a real editor.
      Writing–I love it and I hate it. And I can’t stop scribbling.
      P.S. If I explore this train idea further, I’ll include a link to your inspiring blog post.

    • Mick says:

      Wow! Sounds familiar. All of it. Glad to know you’re feeling geared up to finish. I’m definitely feeling ready. Thanks for sharing—I’ll look for the post you mention! M

    • I’ve written a 575-word first draft, so far, this morning. It went to a place I wasn’t expecting. I love runaway writing trains. And I know every writer does. :)

  4. Jenelle says:

    Is it supposed to be so hard? That answer is probably layered and long. Or perhaps it’s a simple ‘yes’ and I need to push through. Lately even my bird by bird, two inch frame has become such a battle.

    • Mick says:

      When blocked, stop and back up: process before pages. Take a walk, talk to someone who cares. Find what’s making it hard to say what needs saying.

  5. Jenelle says:

    Bam, doing just that. Off to Target to get a larger cork board and index cards. I need to see the entire story map in front of me. My sharpie is ready to go. Let the fun begin…

  6. […] the next day when I read these words the writer/editor, Mick Silva, wrote on his blog: “You know now you should have stuck to writing shorter pieces,” a thought resurrected […]

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