February 2, 2014 § 29 Comments

Ever tried.  Ever failed.

No matter.

Try Again. Fail again.

Fail better.

Samuel Beckett

Some writing comes easy, especially the exposition of the critical- the writing that comes from the head.  But what is the worth?

Most writing now painful and difficult.  Hours spent at the computer staring at the screen without a single keystroke.  And so many passages, fragile and aborning, killed off with a slashing delete.

You seek to capture a feeling or a thought that it true and important, or you inhabit a world of your imagination, and then you take that precious and evanescent wisp and try to reify it in the form of words.

But it all falls apart like a clump of moist sand coming undone in your hands.  You reach down and try to gather the sand but it’s now scattered across an endless beach.  And so you go back, seeking again that place where the feeling lived but you stagger through a maze of spaces, lost.

And so you begin again.

The exquisitely painful work beckons, as irresistible as it is impossible.

Words piled on words.  A lifetime of writing.

Yearning only to fail better.



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§ 29 Responses to Words

  • My Light Bag says:

    ah we learn so much from practice!!

  • Anne Dickson says:

    So good to see you back writing Tom. Brilliant new post. Many Blessings being sent your way.


  • Julianna says:

    Hi Friend –

    So nice to see you on here. This got me thinking…ever tried writing on white, unlined paper? Many creatives simply can’t get things out when they’re doing it through an electronic medium. A thought, and hopefully a gift.

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Thanks for the thought.

      By an interesting coincidence, I recently acquired a vintage Olympia manual typewriter. Love the feel and sound of using it. Good to bang out ideas, fragments, whatever.

      It’s always a gift to hear from you.


  • chrisbkm says:

    And so you begin again. And again…

  • smithdavid says:

    hey tom, was just thinking how i hadn’t read anything of yours for ages. great post: i know the feeling too well. i’m on the 6th draft (and when i say draft i mean started from the beginning for the 6th time) of a novel. torture; but i keep coming back to it, each time failing a little better. well said. dave

  • brendamarroy says:

    Dear Tom,
    I sure do feel you on this one. I wonder how many times what I have thought I could write has come undone like moist sand in my hands. I also wonder how many mornings I have sat in my meditation space or at my desk and wondered what in the world made me think I was a writer and that I had something to say.
    You are awesome and whatever you put on the page usually speaks to my core. Warm embraces to you.

    • Thomas Ross says:


      I have spent hours upon hours staring at a computer screen or a pad of paper, not a word put down. But those times I’m often, maybe always, living too much in my head, trying to “figure out” what to write.

      And then sometimes the words fly out, my weak typing skills like a big boulder strapped to me, slowing me down, but still the words come. Those times I’m not figuring out anything, just feeling. Letting what will come, come.

      We are lucky to have found our places within this community of kind and talented writers and artists. Lovely people, with you at the top of that list.


      • brendamarroy says:

        Thank you, Tom. I think what you said about trying to figure out what to write is my biggest problem. I too often try to figure it out in my head instead of letting the words in my heart flow out onto the page.

        Keep writing my brother because your words touch many.

  • Karin says:

    Great blogpost! Do you participate in #MondayBlogs on twitter?

    • Thomas Ross says:


      I don’t know about the #MondayBlogs thing. I do have a Twitter account. Can you tell me how that works?



      • Karin says:

        Tom, you can search #MondayBlogs all day each Monday on Twitter & connect with other bloggers & writers by posting a short link to your blogpost and the hashtag #MondayBlogs. It’s a great community and resource. It’s helpful to retweet other #MondayBlogs posts, as well. A writer named Rachel Thompson started the group. Her blog is Rachel in the OC. I’m guessing you could Google her. I think this post would be a great #MondayBlogs post! (Also, you can repost other interesting posts, not just one you wrote or posted on a Monday.) Does that give you enough info to connect? If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Other tips here might be helpful: http://badredheadmedia.com/2013/12/31/mondayblogs-participate
        Hope this helps! Best to you!

  • The more I use words, the more I feel I am evolving, the more inadequate words become. But I always love yours Tom.

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Thanks for the always kind spirit you bring here.

      Yeah, the inadequacy of things, the infinite value of moments lived fully and presently, these beliefs are taking root within me. Slowly.


  • Baldeep Kaur says:

    Beautifully expressed!

  • ♡eM says:

    In a moment so well-described by this post, I muttered these words to my love today: “I don’t know why I enjoy writing so much. It’s so hard.”

    Many thanks for the gentle reminder that writing is precisely what it is at any given moment. I appreciate your words, as they are somewhat comforting.

  • dadirri7 says:

    irresistible is the key 🙂

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Yes, it is irresistible, like the way that you must create the images that you see through the lens of your camera. What else are we to do? If it was a matter of choice, we’d certainly choose something else, I think. This terrain is too uncertain and often harrowing to traverse as a choice.

      Thanks for coming by and leaving me your smile.


  • Laurie Roberts says:

    I hear ya! And I was happy this morning to leave the piling up of words to others! — Laurie

  • Boy have I been there. I think anyone who seeks to express themselves with words knows how this feels. Sand slipping through the hand is exactly right. 🙂

    • Thomas Ross says:


      For sure.

      You remind me that there is only one good reason to choose to make your way as a writer- because you must, because you are not aware of any choice in the matter.

      I’m just happy that so many interesting and thoughtful writers like you found themselves in just such a place.


  • “But it all falls apart like a clump of moist sand coming undone in your hands.” Oh Tom, it may not feel like it,but you are doing it, and beautifully….

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Thanks so much.

      I was aware of the irony of seeking to express an idea in words- as best I possibly could- that conveyed the very impossibility of doing so. But then I recalled that the magic of text lies always at the fingertips of the reader who follows. What you feel, what meaning you take away, that is how words become more than marks on a page. The joining of writer and reader.

      That’s part of why this world here, the community of writers and readers, and artists and those who love art, is so magical.

      It was very good to hear from you.


  • julienmatei says:

    As alwasy it´s a pleasure to “see” you here Tom.

    I recall Paul Elouard´s words:

    “Write first, think after.”

    His point may be worthwhile to consider…

    I so recognize what you are “struggling” with. The “precision” we strive after may be so elusive.. So decisively eluding our deliberate pursuit…

    That evanescent clarity doesn´t let itself to be “captured”.

    It is…

    The in-between…

    The un-wording…

    The up-rooting…

    One has to constantly begin…
    And constantly remind oneself to end…

    The ending of no beginning…

    Sometimes the Dream is more precise than wakefulness…

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