During a quiet hour at home this morning, it occurred to me that what I had always considered a bad thing for my mind might be a good thing for my writing. A mug of espresso coffee seemed to help me connect a vignette I’d written in the second week of May to the vignette I hope to write in the next several hours. After rereading the vignette of six weeks ago, I found myself focusing on the opening sentence. Something was there to be discovered, which would create a connection in my imagination between itself and whatever I had yet to start writing. I was sure of it. Faith is an essential part of my creative process. I believe that, as I write, things come together in my mind. The opening sentence of the vignette I wrote on May 8 was about my narrator attempting to do two things at once: read a book on psychoanalysis and watch a panel discussion on YouTube about what kind of science is psychoanalysis. I started writing down images that came to mind as I continued rereading the opening sentence. I noted that the images appeared unconnected to the contents of the sentence. Most of them were of me struggling to speak in Spanish at the language academy in Madrid where I attended classes for a couple of years. Once all of the images were written down, I wondered what I was going to do with them.
I was surprised by what I wrote next. I asked myself what possible connections there were between these two sets of data, of the opening sentence and of the images I’d written down. Then I wrote: writing=stuttering=reading. Maybe I’d drunk too much coffee. As another question came to mind, I sensed that thoughts were finding me. Is interruption at the heart of my creative process?
How can I equate stuttering with writing and reading? I imagine myself on a psychoanalytic couch saying that stuttering is an interruption in the mind. Interruptions often frustrate me. Writing well involves frustration, a thought I would prefer to ignore. Reading aloud in front of others has always been frustrating for me because I’m afraid I might stutter, and although I love reading books I sometimes become frustrated with my inability to maintain focus. Learning comes to mind. On good days, I learn from mental interruptions. Reading in Spanish, my second language, has taught me that frustration can help me focus more on words and on what different meanings sentences might have. For too long I refused to learn from stuttering. It is part of who I am. So is interruption. Another thought finds me: Interruptions can become part of creative moments, as long as frustration and imagination can find ways to connect with each other.