When Songbirds Stop Singing

By Beth Winze

I was scrolling through my blog site the other evening reminiscing about the hours I used to spend bleeding out my heart onto this digital substitute of a notebook. The days I used to carefully plan out and constitute blog posts to share and involve my readers in, and the times I introduced myself as “Beth” quickly followed by my ironic self-descriptors “blogger” “writer” “consumer of words”. I lived for the niche moments in which I could intimately evolve myself over word play. Challenging myself to write creatively was almost as easy as taking my next breath – I didn’t have to tell my body to do it, because it was already established memory.

But somewhere last year the words I so badly wanted to leave my heart stayed trapped inside. They were screaming to be let out and I was petitioning myself to seek out joy in writing again but I felt the powerful words weaken inside of me with each suffocating plea for their release. It went from a devolving laziness one day to a desperate shut of my laptop lid when the words refused to come.

Don’t get me wrong – I still write. In fact as a police officer, writing is nearly 90% of my job description. But no longer do I seek out adjectives to liven up a re-telling of a story. No…I copy and paste a vernacular based solely on the verbatim re-play of an incident from emotionally heightened individuals. It is a strange day when a previous creative writer is completely outdone when writing down a horrific circumstance that happened to someone. “And then what happened?” is no longer a stimulating question daring my creativity to appear, but rather a chance for me to collect my scattered thoughts as I listen to another human tell me their version of reality that is so often twisted and skewed I can’t fully comprehend it. I could have never drummed up a story like that if I was offered a blank check and a pen to write it.

So here I am, craving an intervention with myself. Begging myself to seek out therapy with my writing – feeling on the verge of divorcing my previous creative life all together because “I don’t recognize her anymore.”

I have a deep ache inside of me that misses the old, the familiar, the comfortable. I know writing always healing beyond comprehensible measures to my soul but there’s something terrifying in admitting to yourself that it’s going to be hard. Just like a therapist scrambling to save a marriage “it requires work”, “it won’t be easy”, “you have to keep the flame alive”.

So I can only imagine it comes down to this tragically sobering realization. Somewhere last year I stopped writing – the way I loved to write anyway. I gave up on working towards anything with my writing and in the long run have run into a brick wall of remorse and sadness. So here I am, a wobbling infant deer, trying to familiarize itself with new legs attempting to find myself in words again. Because I can only imagine if a songbird would stop singing altogether, the thing it knows how to do best, it would find itself in a horribly miserable existence.

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