Today is day 3 of the write-every-day-for-2-weeks challenge. I'm not exactly scraping the bottom of the barrel yet, but it's strange how petulant a thing creativity is. Like a cat or a new hobby, it needs to be coaxed, not overworked, or else it will only come at its own calling, and not that of its progenitor.
As a young writer, I had less experience working things through than I do now, and believe me, the work ethic I've grown to date still has a whole fish tank to expand into. That's why, from a young age, I've kept a "writing box." Essentially, a tool to help me wed my brief moments of inspiration with my brief moments of writing resolve. I keep this "box" (these days, a notepad file on my phone) for exactly such occasions as these: those when I'm feeling disciplined enough to write, but with little substance to hold onto save the ill-advised perambulations of my ordinary mind.
Today, then, instead of rambling further, I shall reach into the box and pull out my magic phrase of inspiration...
This is actually a phrase I came across only today. The expression stuck out in a passage of Coleson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad which was describing how Cora, the protagonist, kept track of time. She did so by her "heart noise;" the thumping was a kind of clock.
He (she?) described the sense of the term better than I could, without resorting to precisely physical terminology (as I have above with thumping). Instead, Cora's 'heart noise' is beautifully unattached and open to interpretation. It's an individual kind of phrase, yet something we all understand. We've all heard our own hearts, one way or another.
I think Cora meant the pounding in her ears -- more of a blood noise than a heart noise. Then again, saying it was a 'blood noise' carries only the body with it; not the soul.
A heart noise that keeps time is more than a metronome. Not just a steady, unfeeling tempo. It's a pace that quickens and slows and courses through the body in waves or parcels, but always building over time, always in everything.
What else could a heart noise be?
If our consciences and consciousnesses are said to be voices of some kind, then the wisdom and sorrows of the heart could be noise, too. A heart noise, in despair and fear and dread and pain, its deep and wrenching caterwaul its only voice, the whole of what it knows: that's a kind of timekeeping, yes, but one nearer to lunacy than to the measured radii of a sundial. That bucket in the chest bailing out life's torrential waves. Take the damage to the hull; spare the breathing sacks within to gasp another day. Yes. Yes. I cannot say that drum-beat language is not a heart noise, too.
How often are our hearts silent, now, I wonder.
Why is the truth of a what a heart noise is so obvious in my gut if I almost never hear it?
*photo credit to Amanda Wood.