Eating Paper

Do you know how many novels I have authored in my head?

I walk around in circles with imaginary words.

Sometimes the words are so loud I climb beneath the covers and I scream.

Sometimes I eat them.  Take a corner of an m and gnaw and gnaw like dogs with bones.

Sometimes I light them on fire and watch the way they razzle dazzle in their dance across the sky.

Sometimes I drown them in the bathtub.  Hold them down and smother them go to sleep be quiet that’s it shhhhhhhhh





With all these words inside my head it is no wonder that I drank them all away before I learned to write them out.

Once when I was high the words were glinting gold and mad and angry and scrawled across my walls they moved like old projector screens and then my blankets tried to smother me the pillows inching on the bed like worms.  The words so bright and loud I couldn’t get a second’s worth of sleep.

That was then.  And this is now.

In the library, with a cup of coffee, I shelve the antique books.  Place them out of order—arranged by color, name, or content.  When I open them, I breathe the words that someone else has written.  The musk of a thousand authors, all their hurts and all the things that made them scream out on a page.

Where do I go from here?

None of these pages have a single map but the words they are so loud and beautiful in how they sing the song of what makes human human.

A smaller version of the self, writing notes on paper and then eating them.  How the paper dissolves upon the tongue the bitter taste of scrawled ink and how it lodges in the gums between the teeth and how I eat my words and how they taste and feel and sound inside my mouth.

That was then.  And this is now.  So many years to get to where I am, and yet, it doesn’t feel so far at all.

Ten Tips for Writing. 

25 Essential Tools for the Beginning Author. 

Five Must Have Books in Every Writer’s Library. 

15 Books You Never Knew that You Were Missing in Your Life. 

Nothing there to help me with the words and what to do with them.  At night, the words inside my head create a cinematic masterpiece.  In the morning, I write them all down upon a page.  Rinse and repeat.

I find a letter hidden in my molars I had written in my youth.  I tape it to the bathroom mirror and read it every morning when I rise.

Where do I go from here?

26 thoughts on “Eating Paper

  1. This is the really hard part of being a writer.

    You write and write and write and write, until you are done, and you will know when you’re done, but that knowing won’t come until you get there. (major suckitude there! 🙂 )

    After you write ‘the end’ you will look at it and know your Journey’s just begun. (also major suckitude 🙂 )

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I used to eat paper. All the time. I never thought I’d it until I read your words. The way you combine the metaphorical with the desire to read is interesting as I devour books and always have read and read and read. Maybe we do eat paper. At some stage it all comes back out. It’s beautiful. I love your writing.

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    1. Gear in for a long comment:
      You know what cracks me up about writing/reading? How the writer always means one thing, and the reader gathers another. I absolutely love that. When I was getting my Master’s, we argued about author intention–what they meant to say and if it mattered. We argued about it relentlessly. But, if you ask me, author intention doesn’t matter all that much. What a piece does for the reader should have nothing to do with what the writer meant to say. All of this is to say that I was talking about how I physically ate paper as a child (weird kid). But I think it is such a sign of the power of writing and interpretation that you took it to mean something else. And now you have inspired me to write a completely different piece that combines physically eating paper with metaphorically eating paper so big thank you for that! I love learning new interpretations of my words–I am far less creative than you think 😉

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      1. I was addicted to the taste of inky paper: because we were isolated (lives on a sheep station hours from town) I began reading really early. It was a property that had been in the family for a few generations. In one room were these boxes of books and I would go in there sit in the dust and read for hours. And yes I would occasionally tear a thin strip of this old book (only one sacrificial lamb) and then munch it chewing gum. The subconscious is fascinating – the point where the metaphorical crosses paths with the literal is often an aha moment for me. Slightly different but also interesting is how words when you break them down and trace them back to their Latin roots just come alive with meaning and purpose. Writing is endlessly amazing to me just as reading is and the play between them and then how a person takes it into a whole different layer of understanding just by their comprehension of your words….hmm that’s a nice thought to – maybe I will wander off with that tucked in my pocket and let it sit awhile. Sorry about the long comment -I tend to have to get it all out once I think of something 😊

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  3. I have instantly become a fan of your writing….the way you express is amazing….your plate is simply full of taste & colors….it’s like you eat paper with words….recycle them in a different way…And then you present them in your very unique style…

    Liked by 1 person

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