Why I Write
by Jackie Mallon
The sound is like a low growl. You mightn’t hear it but even when I look at peace, I’m making it. Then I itch and scrape. Is my stomach empty? Do I need a walk? A nap? A blanket? Kibble? Tranquilizing?
Reading, yes, that calms me. For a while. Until there is something in the book that reminds me of my story. Oh, so I think I could do better than the writer? Well, let’s see it then, come on!
I go out, see friends instead.
I’m among people, reducing them to characters. Scrutinizing them as they speak, I wonder how I would best describe their features, their expressions, the sound of their voices, the texture of their hair, their energy, their teeth, their smell, their size, their ideas, their accents. I’m exhausted. I go home determined to get up early, get a real run at it.
A hearty breakfast. Back on the chain gang. Stacking the words one next to the other. Back breaking work bent over that one track as morning becomes afternoon, the sentence shifting, extending, shortening.
From the menial, I’ll build meaning.
Is my stomach empty? Something sweet? Check mail? Weather? How’s Mum?
A fashion agent calls, wants to put me forward for a design job. Good God, no! I hang up and write all the way through till night. I will do this till I finish. Then I will do it all over again. I know I will be doing it years from now. I can’t help it.
That means something.
Jackie Mallon is the author of SILK FOR THE FEED DOGS