Bleeding in Black and White

How familiar and comforting the black and white page is to a writer. Whether isolated by midnight or crushed within a coffeehouse midday, everything fades away but the strand of black pearls you string together with colorful phrases, characters, creatures that relentlessly pursue you into the paper cloud of white. Each sentence taking on a life rich with friendship, hardship, gladness, gluttony, laughter, lament, and all for an invisible audience you may never meet. The author’s easel has one canvas, one brush, one shade, and its colors shine only as brightly as the pressure of its creator’s emotional quill will press out.

There are two people within me constantly at war: My inner editor and my artist.

My inner editor critiques and corrects my artist until I’m so depressed, I’m almost convinced I’ll never write anything good again. Then, the opposite happens—not as often, but I love it when it does. A freedom comes over me, and suddenly all the words, whimsy, dreams, inspiration … they’re all flowing together in one delirious direction, sweeping me away. It’s such a high that at some point I realize I’m sitting in a dark room where I can barely see my hands in front of me—only the streaming story on a black and white screen that even unexpected night cannot dim. What I wouldn’t give to live there forever, editor be damned.

A friend and coworker at Harvest House once told me, “Kimberly, just bleed all over the page and let the editor clean it up.” Yes, it’s graphic, but consider its source. Besides being an editor, Terry Glaspey is also a great writer. He has this painter inside of him that’s never touched a canvas, yet he wields the passion and persuasion of an embattled artist, sculpture, or playwright. His description inspires me to cut deep, bleed prisms of angst and elation, heartache and healing. Bleed until every drop is spent. Until every word has found its true home.

Another dear friend who is a talented writer and editor is Hope Lyda. Though she’s responsible for cleaning up the blood of other fellow artists, she also carries an innate, organically fed muse within her that is forced to collaborate in what must be a painful and arduous practice. Her poetic writing style can fill a book with beautifully crafted imagery her editor will never be able to write.

My advice to you, friend and writer: Leave the clinic. Forget your textbook with its antiseptic theories and agonizingly clean content. Divorce cliché. Make the page red with your artist’s lifeblood and lose yourself in the current of imagination where reality ends and the great colorful voyage begins. Steal away into the mix of hues dark and light until they become something completely new. Dowse the sun, illuminate the night, bury your editor while raising intoxicating story to life. Squeeze each note of your unique song until those who hear it find themselves lost in the concert-pitch of the rapids.

You are the writer; the poet; the painter…

… breathe in and bleed out.