When your four-year-old kid says stuff like this in her sleep, you start to think, "Why do I bother trying to use words at all?"
Lennon woke up for a brief moment this morning and revealed this truism, and when she put her head back down, closing her eyes and smiling the way she does when she knows we're watching, I thought about how it must feel to know exactly how to express a crazy, mixed-up emotion, like that feeling you get right before you cry. I wouldn't know. I had forgotten this was an emotion in the first place. I forgot that it mattered, just as much as the crying itself. I felt like a king in the presence of a fool, in a way that means I was an ignorant, pompous, wind-raging joke getting schooled on the ways of the world by the same person who tells me fart jokes. And here I thought I was Gloucester (blind joke/Shakespeare joke = am nerd).
Lennon has always had a way with words, but this, this was something on an altogether different plane. It was simple, and yet ripe with truth, and it worked on so many levels. The thickness of the fear, the awe, the chaos, and the suspense. It's all there. Charged by the events that trigger the need to cry, striking your nerves in a way that shocks and frightens you. The rumbling of all those emotions, flowing out of you before you can contain them. Like a monsoon storm, the feeling absorbs you with heat and intensity, and seems to come without warning, and seems to leave without regret or mercy.
She said it exactly right, and she said it without effort. And here I sit daily, in front of a computer screen, trying to construct stories with meaning, trying to author a book that will heal and enlighten and amuse and inspire, and I try to use words in a way that Nobody Has Ever Used Words Before, Dammit. And the blonde-headed muse wakes up next to me and reminds me that I needn't bother.
"Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!" For I know not who I am.
Okay, it's not as dramatic as that. But I do feel pretty silly, and I do kind of want to cry, knowing how much time I've wasted trying to write The Perfect Thing, when I could have spent that time writing the simpler things that sounds so obvious, but that have the greatest effect.
Thanks Lenny. I'll donate my first Time Traveling Zombies In Love book to you.