When You Drop the Screw

I’ve dropped it. For a few months it’s been lost down in that dark deep somewhere, unseeable, unfindable. It’s a cold steel nugget in my mind and it is swelling and digging into the matter so much that it screams to be found and picked up. Only I can’t seem to pick it up and work with it. I claw in the blackness, in the void, my talons piercing to blood, and I can’t push it out. I can’t get a grip. I can’t make it happen. Dear God, it is lost.

I’m not really talking about a screw here. I’m talking about my writing.

But I did lose a screw, too. Yesterday. The little light above my stove top went out, and it’s under a panel, and I had to unscrew the panel, replace the bulb, and then rescrew the panel. But I dropped the damn screw. It was a tiny thing, silver, metal, Phillips, and it pinged on the range, then disappeared, maybe down under one of the burners, I thought. So I took the burners and their pans off and searched, even with a flashlight, while cursing madly, even committing the unpardonable sin when you take the Lord’s name in vain. I’m so going to hell. The dog moved out of the kitchen. She’s deaf and couldn’t hear the vileness of my language, but she could feel it, she could feel my heat, and it pushed her out.

The late husband’s workshop in the garage has hundreds of trays of screws and so I went out to partake, but alas, because my house is staged for showing to sell, there are a couple of extra furniture pieces and bins of packed items stacked in one garage bay next to where the screws are. I took my vileness with me outdoors, I didn’t care, I had to climb the mound of storage covered with a blue tarp to look ordered and neat, and it took that acidic adrenalin to make it to the top. Sheer determination packed with a few dams and hells. In my younger life I won awards for acrobatics, so I pushed onward and upward, and climbed the stack of bins, looking for a spot the width of my shoe to get a footing. I was in a splits position, balanced with the toe of one foot on this and the toe of the other foot on that, and I tell you, the muscles in my legs were tight and without flab and with the look and feel of youth. I leaned over to pull out each little drawer of each tray, only to find no Phillips out of millions, but vowing to make a flat top work. The head shouldn’t matter. The first screw was too thick, so I had to climb and curse again. But the second, it screwed in with little difficulty, but for doing a backbend over the burners to look up into my workspace, while cursing the man who invented that setup.

But the light is on.

And then there is the writing. Somehow I’ve got to dig and claw and climb until I find it. There comes a time when it all distills down into the tiny coil of what’s inside. Inside me. Nobody else gives a flat damn about it, everybody else is too consumed in their own mounds, I can’t depend on support and encouragement from anyone, this is a personal thing. This is me and who I am and what I’m made of, by God, and if I want this life to continue I’ve got to reach in, probe down and about, and pull up my soul and make it happen. I must steady myself and pull the string and make light.

My inspiration, my successes all come from me and me alone.

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4 Comments on “When You Drop the Screw”

  1. Christopher says:

    Great post, Kathy! I know exactly how you feel. I hope you find that screw. All the best.

  2. Are you possibly my unknown sister? 🙂

  3. Agatha Nolen says:

    Incredible post, Kathy! But, I don’t believe that we are all alone in our inspiration. I too miss having someone to support my creativity. It is so wonderful when there is a person that understands the passions as well as helping us through when the lightbulb goes out for awhile. But we are inspired by others as well as the world around us. Each sunrise I am reminded that I have been asked to live another day for a purpose. For you, that purpose is to write. I am inspired by your creativity.

  4. That second-to-last paragraph says just what I’m thinking. I worry that the pieces & books hiding within me are just going to pack up, move out, and find another writer. With good reason.

    Your post reminds me of this, not sure why: “Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, “Abba as far as I can, I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?” then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, “If you will, you can become all flame.”


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