Finding My Backbone in a Torrent of Words. ~ Katrina Kunstmann

Via Katrina Kunstmann
on Jul 29, 2013
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How the fuck am I supposed to write an article when I feel like my whole life depends on it?

How am I to speak when I feel the weight of my future hangs on one word?

What word should I choose? My favorite, effluvia—effluvia: curling vapors, currents—my exhalations both heavy with gravitas and weightless. Usually defined as rank or odoriferous, in my personal lexicon, effluvia is the sweet, sweet funk of the soul.

I struggle within the confines of the word count, tangle myself in thread, attempting to tailor my thoughts to feel suitable, fresh and appealing.

My mind leaps, boundless, through ideas for articles and to settle—to pick just one—is like attempting to snare a hare with the invisible cords that conjoin the constellations. One idea seems as though it will flow out smooth, concise and elegant, yet when my fingers touch the worn keys of my rapidly aging laptop, I pull the reins of the galloping words, coming to a jilting halt that bucks me from the flow—the first of many fallen logs of ego that I feel it must leap over.

Who am I to speak here in this arena, so broken and tattered?

This yoga-less, weight-lifting, workaholic mongoloid word-machine with masochistic tendencies left, right and center—both the good kind and the bad kind—and more anxiety issues and self doubt than a hoard of yogi hippies could shake their sticks at.

How is it I can be enlightened when still I suffer so? Someone so haggard and cranky, especially so on this day, today?

(Perhaps I’m ireful and doubtful because the sun is so bright and I’ve been waiting for summer thunderstorms with electric anticipation. Waiting for the sweet skies to boom and flicker, and the past two days have been but cloudy clit-teases.)

I lash in the plight of the seemingly inexperienced, the struggle of the spineless, easily swayed by the views that I assume others have of me.

I lean my ear into my heart-wood. I hear it pulse and flicker.

Yes, yes, I suffer still. I struggle with my inner demons, my sorrows and my woes. Ah, but these bitter nitrate fertilizers yield fruit. Though they are a small harvest of bizarrely shaped beauties, and they may be procured through means which differ from many, they are sweet and succulent nonetheless, with just the right amount of tartness.

It takes a lot to step up to the podium, midst the seraphic cries of those seemingly exalted, casting such vast shadows.

It takes a lot to stand and proclaim “I have something to say.”

I look back.

My shadow is long and dark and deep. It is rich and moist, like the black soil of the earth. From it scintillating flowers grow.

My voice sits in my hand.

The voice we all have. The right to speak. Our wounds to share, our scars to bare.

Enlightenment is temporary, but it does not leave us unchanged.

Oscillating away from the fleeting illumination of perfect balance and ultra-harmony, the resting state is not unaltered. Flux is constant; the wheel of pain and pleasure give us contrast and depth.

Yeah, it takes a lot to realize you matter just for being, that the truths you’ve plucked from the garden of your soul have a perfume just as sweet as those of another. It takes a lot to stand tall and express the substance of your being.

It’s hard to realize you, too, are beautiful and your words weighty with import. It takes a lot to remember you have a spine that would stand tall if only you would let it. It’s always nerve-fizzling to play in a new concert hall.

You look out over the audience and wonder who is listening.

Your hair is turning in accordance with the season of your life. You don’t mind. Life is too dazzling to worry about a few snowflakes in your tresses.

I’m standing at the podium, tapping the mic, collecting my thoughts and spinning them out right.

I may be bleeding and torn, but that means that I’m living, which means I’m doing something right, even if it’s not perfect.

I may be imperfect, but I know that my voice has power.

I may walk a different path, but it intersects and runs parallel to yours.

I may not have a calm mind, but I’ve got a passionate spirit that won’t fucking quit.

I may not know how to get there, but I sure as shit know where I’m going.

I’m giving you a ring cause I’m halfway there.

I hope I never reach my destination ‘cause this ride is wild, something awesome, and the wisdom wondrous and endless if only you know where to look.

I’ll see y’all when I wake up from the long dirt nap.



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Assistant Ed: Kate Spano/Ed: Bryonie Wise

{Photo: via Pinterest}


About Katrina Kunstmann

Katrina E. Kunstmann is attempting to live, to varying degrees of success. If you are so possessed, you can find her visual art on her Krop Portfolio, and smatterings of her writings, art stuffs and other bizarrities on her Tumblr. She has a Facebook profile, but she checks it less and less. She is also in the process of making a comic. You can read the pages and observe her slowly go mad at the WARHEADcomic tumblr page.


12 Responses to “Finding My Backbone in a Torrent of Words. ~ Katrina Kunstmann”

  1. charlie43 says:

    I was really getting into this article until I ran across the use of "reigns" in place or "reins." When I find these so-obvious errors, and I can see the writer at work, as I do in this article, I tend to turn away. Being of the old school of writers, I find the very obvious errors to be a real stigma on those of us who struggle so hard to make a decent article resonate with those of our intended audience. Sorry if I sound like a grammar Nazi – I take great pride in my work and tend to look for these very real errors in the work of others. You did not paint a mind picture for me. You merely confused me with over-used metaphors and worn out cliches.

  2. Amanda says:

    I love it.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    Thanks for catching, Charlie—we appreciate a sharp eye at elephant. Writers (and editors) sometimes miss these things, but we don't mind the occasional reminder of our humanness. Cheers, Sara

  4. Kai says:

    Well I think Charlie's comment proves the very point of the article which for me is, life is short, no one is perfect, just because a story doesn't resonate with one does not mean it did not resonate with others. Yup, she used the wrong word…oh well, se la vie. Katrina, thank you for having the balls…oops I guess I should say courage to conquer your fears and share yourself with us.

  5. JustSayin' says:

    I was really getting into this reply until I ran across the use of "or" in place of "of." You may consider turning that critical eye of yours on your own critiques of others' grammar.

    …and that last statement about metaphors and cliches was just rude – not a supportive or constructive piece of feedback.

  6. Alan says:

    Thanks Katrina – that has resonated with me, there seems to be a lot of you're present truth in the article. As someone who is looking to blog, with absolutely no idea of how to focus on the 'content' that is going to give me the inspiration I'm looking for its probably just time to jump and start writing, especially if Charlie's pedantic comment above is the pithiest feedback I have to look forward to:))

  7. Katrina K. says:

    Ah, I can't not smile.

  8. Katrina K. says:

    At first I was very tempted to shift the responsibility for this error to editors, but this isn't the mature thing to do considering that, as you have astutely pointed out, I consider myself to be a lover of words and I should show them the care and respect they deserve and I have allowed my attention to slip.
    In future articles I will be sure to be more circumspect and possess a keener eye to my revisions.
    Getting carried away with the flow of the moment and missing errors is an unfortunate drawback to writing with and from a place of passion, which I can say this most certainly was.

    To your comments regarding my style, and metaphors, well it would seem you are perhaps not beloved of styles that fall within this ilk. I will freely admit I am a whore for metaphors as I feel them to be one of the best literary devices to express the truth of the world. I use them in abundance, and but I do not feel I use them in excess, and if we disagree on this, so be it. As far as worn out cliches are concerned, I feel that the aim of all creative pursuits is veracity, expression of the self and the substance of the world, and not necessarily constant innovation. If this means I use cliches, ideas and metaphors which have been used before, so be it. It is better, I feel, to be authentic than original—if I tried to be fresh rather than authentic, then I would never create anything. Further, I feel most audiences can sense when the writer is forcing their hand to be innovative, thus all the more reason to be honest, regardless of if this reuses ideas from old.

    Thank you again for drawing attention to my flagging revision skills, and it is something I aim to whip into shape.

  9. Katrina K. says:

    Thank you :>

  10. Katrina K. says:

    Thank you Kai, you comment means a lot to me. :>
    I'm glad it helped in some small way to enrich your existence, and I hope this article along with my other work here will enrich the lives of others.
    Se la vie, la dolce vita. :>

  11. Katrina K. says:

    Thank you Alan, I'm glad it helped to bring that needed push of courage. I've always found that writing just leads to more writing in a sort of infinite upward spiral, so yes, I'd say getting it on with your inner scribe is most certainly the thing to do.
    Hehe, pithiest, a good word that hasn't tumbled through my personal lexicon for some time. I'll have to remember it. :>

    Above all though, from one write to another, just write about what you love and what sets you ablaze and never feel limited. I write about travel (I had another article on here about some experiences abroad) to an article I want to write for this site about my relationship with my parents. As long as a write is being true to their style and true to their expression, there is merit to their work. That's my philosophy anyhow. Go for it amigo! :>

  12. Katrina Kunstmann says:

    whoops, **writer, 5am finger slip there