I’d like to write, but can’t find the words.

Even though I know a lot of them, they hide.

Webster’s Dictionary is there to help, but will I use it? Will I consult Thesaurus.com?

Words like

discombobulated, unctuous, scintillating, castigate, discountenance, extrapolate, obsequiously

do come to mind, but I don’t use them.

I choose

confused, sucky, witty, criticize, embarrass, estimate, dutiful.

On a good day (cliché) I might move beyond pretty, bad, human, thrill and job to lovely with blue eyes, mean streak, animal with two legs, dizzy with excitement and career.

Honestly, that’s the best I can do.

A paragraph about pine trees described in three-syllable words flowing together without pretention brings tears to my eyes (other cliché) and I wonder why I can’t muster the depth, craft or insight to write about pine trees any way other than towering green things that stand like soldiers.

Poetry and profound works on nature, torture, death and emotional devastation impress me. I cringe at the drunk cowboy I’ve chosen as the protagonist of my book. Surely I am missing the essential qualities and skills of a writer.

But… the story must be told. The desire to tell it, the inability to tell it and the commitment to figure the damn thing out consume just about every minute of every day. My discombobulated mind refuses the scintillating words that I castigate regularly, and with much discountenance, extrapolate to be obsequious. Scribbling common everyday gibberish, I slog on. The words aren’t enough, but they’re all I’ve got and despite their simplicity, the only ones that sound right.

Today, they will have to do.

Norman, I wrote on your porch, in your bar, your living room and at your dining room table and your spirit did seem to hover and dare me to break out, bust loose (oh, dear) and use some big words to express some big ideas.

I did try.

Bev Magennis is from New Mexico. She stared writing late, after 35 years as a visual artist. She received the Pen USA Emerging Voices Fellowship in 2010 and was selected for the Iowa Writers Workshop Summer Graduate Class in 2009. Her work has appeared in two anthologies and will be published in the October issue of r.kv.r.y.

Bev is also a Mailer Fiction Fellow. She is using the month of residency to work on a novel, getting further acquainted with a tricky protagonist.