birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Thinking Out Loud

I guess this will be about me. I think I’m feeling strong enough for some self-criticism. I have a good cup of coffee here.

Trying to think of a specific story from this topic is not happening to me, but it does sort of strike a nerve about relationships and communication.

It reminds me of how I sometimes need to think out loud. Similar to how I write a lot sometimes and squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube, just to follow the line of thought. And will I get to the end, or is it just a squiggly mixture at the end. Yes, my writing is striped toothpaste.

My writing is trying to get a lot out of my head so I can consider it and figure out what it is I think. My writing is not deciding what to say, it’s just trying to get me to let go of the parts I am still working on. The unfinished lozenges that need to be shown. I need to not consider what is on the page already and actually write down that thesis statement, that choice line, that pops up like a notification that I’ve trained myself to ignore as I try to follow the line.

And then the editing is the decision process. The editing is the denying of some lesser or unhelpful thought in order to round out a message that is more coherent, or focused.

This process of getting the words out is something I’ve struggled with in relationships. There was me feeling a little worried about my first relationship moving too fast and just sitting downstairs in my cold basement trying to figure out what to say. I didn’t feel like I could say aloud the true reasons for my panic, but instead imagine a purple birthday bouquet sitting on an ironing board, imagine some teenagers sitting on a dusty weight bench and the girl being quiet and only saying “I don’t know.”

And then flash forward to me in a different relationship, where twenty-somethings pace around a shared apartment, past the gurgling fish tank, where the woman is saying everything that comes to mind while the man is listening to all of it and taking all of it as fact. The woman is not making any official statements, but they are being taken as such. And so then later the frustrating clarification had to be made: “What? I don’t remember saying that. If I said anything like that, I was just thinking out loud.”

Seems like the page is a good place for this analysis. The page is always open and it’s the process of writing that helps the truth come out. Or whatever else is blocking it.