It's apparent to me when I'm at a loss for words. My mind feels littered with incomplete thoughts just waiting for the right word or words to complete them and magically write themselves down on the blank piece of paper staring back at me.
The silence becomes overwhelming because there is no music playing and my brain is trying to keep up with whatever conversation is going on around me while trying not to panic about the fact that I can't think of a single word to write down. When prose escapes me and I can't lasso it because it has taken flight and landed among the stars. Too far away from me to catch.
All other skills show themselves inadequate when I'm at a loss for words. My listening skills are lackluster. My reading skills become an epic failure. My ability to function in daily life becomes a joke and my family steps away from me as they attempt to discern why I've gone from capable to incapable in the beat of a heart.
I imagine that when I'm at a loss for words it feels equal (or worse) to what my son experiences with his Attention Deficit Disorder. A diagnosis that until I watched him fight with it daily didn't think it was that big of a deal. Now, though, when I can think of no words at all, I think this is what he must feel like until the prescription medication kicks in and helps him make sense of the world around him.
Unorganized chaos. Miles of sticky notes that are out of order and have illegible notes scrawled on them in multiple colors and even more languages that a uni-lingual individual can't decipher. An owner's manual to the most complex of appliances written in Sanskrit; a language I am not familiar with. That's what it feels like when I can't write. When words escape my brain and even the dictionary looks like a novel covered in Rorschach inkblots that make no sense at all.
Until I remember the magic that releases the tension in my mixed up mind and organizes the chaos. When I flip the switch on the right utensils and create a heavenly blend of music, everything changes.
Unorganized chaos puts itself in order. The sticky notes arrange themselves chronologically and the illegible notes become the most beautiful of all penmanship. The languages translate into English and owner's manuals become “Writing for Dummies” texts. Rorschach inkblots become colorful pictures drawn by the hands of happy children.
When I'm at a loss for words, I turn on the music, and words flow and all is right with the world.