The Writer in the Cage

I see it around the Internet, in blogs and on forums, I see the writing spirit in so many of us. I see the wings unfolding and the head lifting high, so eager, so ready – in the heart, at least – to fly.

I see the raw talent, some of it rough as yet, but I can see the spark of energy that comes in a choice of words or a play of action – energy that will one day grow into something formidable and become the driving force of something very substantial and wholly unstoppable. The writer is born and is very aware.

I see some polished talent, too, the progress further along. A string of words that captures a scene most vibrantly, or a decision to include something small and human that so many overlook – the spread of a hand against a wall, the dust and warmth of the air – something you have to be there to see or feel, and so you are! Sprinkled just right, these human things lift the reader right out of their armchair and into the heart of the story.

In each step, I see my own progression. I remember when I was there, or there, or there. It’s so very much what I did – what we all do or at least try.

I also see the frustration in many writers, years of it. I’ve been there, too. I know exactly what you are feeling. It’s like being caged. You work so hard and so long, you’ve got talent and ideas, but there are bars all around you and you can’t get out, you’re not going anywhere, and won’t until you pick the lock. Trouble is, you don’t know where the lock is or how to pick it. A key? You dream of a key, brought to you, ornate and golden, presented by an outside agency that, with kind heart and gently persuasion, will unlock the cage and let you be who you really are – a writer.

But the years are going by, and still you work and hone and polish, and seem to get nowhere. When is it going to change? When will it happen? When? Will it ever happen? Are you wasting your life?

How many in frustration have turned away and thrown away their work. How many return, or are dragged back screaming. It’s against your will, but you have to do this. This is what you are, a writer.

So you wait, and you hone and you polish and you throw stuff out and start over, and you rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Going nowhere…

…it seems. Because I see something more, something perhaps easily missed. Something that I myself didn’t see until after I finally picked the lock and got outside that cage that held me back for so long.

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