Wild words are the words that want to be heard and seen - as opposed to the ones that you want to write.
They are the ones you keep caged in the depths of your soul. They are the ones that you sometimes hear crying, or, even worse, which have forgotten how to cry. They are the words which leak out, or which sabotage your life, in so many realised and unrealised ways. They are as often words of joy, and peace, as they are words of sorrow or anger. The wild words are the one story that needs to be told, the answering call to the yearning of your heart and soul. There are as many kinds of wild words as there as creatures on this earth. They vary as much in looks as the elephant and the mouse, and behave in as many different ways. Wild words are not necessarily big and loud and emotional. They might cause a stampede when they arrive. But it’s equally likely that they’ll slide in quietly, flutter their way on to your page, or jostle at your elbow.
Wild words are fiction and non-fiction and transcend the two. They are poetry and prose and transcend the two.
Wild words can be, but are not necessarily, profound. Sometimes they prefer to be shallow, fickle and superficial.
They do not take any account of ‘the market’ (but then the greatest novelists never did either). They do not necessarily use the writing tools that you’ve been taught. Nor do they necessarily follow ‘good’ writing practice (although strangely they often end up as ‘great writing’ without all those supports). Sometimes it is agonising and exhausting to give birth to them, but equally often it is a joyful experience as they slip out almost unaided.
The one thing you can be quite sure of is that they won’t be what you expect. What you expect is what your thinking mind is encouraging you to write. The thinking mind likes tame words because they are no threat. They allow us to stay well within our comfort zone. Writing truly wild words involves facing fears. What the thinking mind fears, it won’t support you to conceptualise. That means we have to find a new approach.
For now, the only thing we can know for sure is that to undertake a mission to meet and reclaim the wild words is to go on a journey into the unknown, with all the associated hopes and fears.
The Weekly Prompt
Think about what you expect your wild words to be like. What would be the opposite of those expectations? Allow the answers to find you, rather than hunt them down.
This article was first published on July 18th 2013