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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

When words dry up - and when the rains come

There are days - weeks - where my words dry up, and I have nothing worth saying. My brain is the Arizona desert, and a tumbleweed thought won’t do for a blog post. I wish it were easier to pretend to be clever.

A friend sent me a hilarious blog post today. It’s in the form of a cover letter, and it’s entitled, “I Would Like to be Pope.”

“I’m writing to apply for the position of Pope. I recently received my Bachelor of Arts, or ‘artrium baccalaureus,’ from Dartmouth College, with a major concentration in Theatre Studies and a minor concentration in Computer Science. . . . I became aware of the availability of the position of Pope through the Dartmouth listserve.”

I wish I could be funny like that.

But the truth about writing is that you can only write who you are.

Sadly, it doesn’t count, for example, if your husband is funny - although mine is. Soon enough, people will see how pathetically un-funny you really are.

And if un-funny is bad enough, what about when you feel numb or angry, disappointed or just too busy to think?

What do you write about on those days? And what do you say about God?

We don’t ever summon God. He’s like the weather. Unpredictable. And completely out of our control.

Words bear these traits, too. I, the writer, don’t ever know when to predict their arrival. I only know they’re a capricious bunch.

(Don’t they know I’ve been expecting them? That I have work for them to do?)

Words hide.

Just like God.

And there’s anger and fear in that, too.

Today day begins as most days do. Coffee. Bible. Desk.

I rummage the drawers for a pen, having lost my favorite one in the move.

I am surprised when I actually hear something. My pen stands on rubbery legs, regains some feeling – it writes.

This is unexpected. This is good.

And I remember the reason for persisting when life, words, God dries up.

The rain is coming.