I feel as if I’m writing a lot, but none of it is in this space. This space feels like it deserves clear thoughts and edited sentences. Not perfect ones – they rarely are – but thoughtful ones. Or thought out ones. I usually know my first sentence before I start to write, and quite honestly, the words tumble out once that sentence is penned. But I haven’t had a first sentence in awhile, at least not one that has survived the backspace key.
I dabble in Instagram; I can still get sort of wordy there, but the limit of length is helpful to me. My medium of choice is email, fast but focused, full of links, targeted to one or a few. Occasionally I employ the retweet, but I don’t have a real sense of who is out there on the other end, so it feels a bit like talking into a vacuum.
Most mornings I drive the older to school and the younger tags along. It’s just a ten block drive, but depending upon the timing of our one stop light on the route, it can take between a minute and a half to three minutes. Sometimes the radio is still on, and we’ll catch a snippet of the 7:00am, top-of-the-hour news updates. I usually silence the radio chatter for such a short drive, but occasionally we’ll hear something that sparks a question. I try to stuff a thesis into the half block length of the carpool line – this is what they were talking about, this is the impact of that decision, this is what we must do about it, and don’t forget your lunch bag, I’ll see you tonight at dinner, I love you, have a great day.
I worry that I’m talking too much. I try to focus at work, and only stand to talk to my dear friend over the wall a few times a day. And then it all comes out like a giant tidal wave, and I have to apologize for leading with a humorous piece before spiraling into some sort of dystopian nightmare scenario. She’s patient with me, at least.
I took the older one to one of the mayoral debates where she confessed to me that her dad had reminded her to take notes and to listen and to form her own opinions outside of the ones expressed by her mother. I actually loved that, and I knew what he meant. We are aligned in so many different ways, but I average a thousand words to one in the dialoguing of it. She has to find her own voice, and practice it, and stretch it until it is ready for the work ahead. So I know what he meant, but still I think, do all these words of mine mean less for others? Is there a finite amount, like the water in the sea?
I gave a talk this past Sunday morning, but then I worried all afternoon that maybe my talk was really a speech, and I dove into an internal discussion of semantics. It was billed as a discussion, but no one interrupted, they just watched me and listened intently. Thank goodness I had a decent outline – I held the small notebook in my hand and referenced it whenever I worried about rambling. I made my notes the night before, staying up until long past midnight, and on my drive there I worried that I wouldn’t be able to fill all the empty space in the room. Someone had to knock on the door to remind us to stop. I wonder if I might have just continued talking and talking and talking if no one had silenced me. I have too much inside me at the moment, and controlling its release is not easy.
I want to be careful, but who has time for careful anymore? I bounce from one thing to the next, and the words keep spilling over and the notebooks keep filling up, and the carpool line is far too short for me to tell my girls all the things that I need them to know, too short for me to determine how much of that they need to figure out all on their own.