What Are You Thinking?

“What are you thinking?”

It’s a simple question. One I should be able to answer. But it is not always as easy as it seems it should be.

Sometimes I am flooded with ideas, as if I’m in an open field with thousands of balloons floating by. To answer this question would require me to pluck one and hold onto it long enough to describe it to you before the string once again slips through my fingers. And these are tricky thoughts that don’t want to be restrained. They often float right above my fingertips, just out of reach. It takes time to encourage one to drift low enough, to persuade it to hold still for just a moment so I can describe it.

Other times, I am puzzling over just one idea, like an archaeologist who has found something they can’t yet identify. It takes careful excavation to be sure it doesn’t break apart. I first dig with a shovel but then once it breaks free I pick at it with smaller tools, chipping away at the earth that has crusted around it, breathlessly hoping there really is something underneath. It isn’t until I brush off the dust and rinse it clean that there is anything to be told.

When you ask, “What are you thinking?” I want to tell you. I want to be able to share these thoughts. But often I can’t. The balloons just won’t hold still or the petrified ground around my idea is still too thick for me to explain.

And so I respond, “Nothing.” Or worse, “I don’t know.”

I can see the look in your eye when I say this. I know you don’t believe me. You’re right to doubt, however not for the reasons you fear. I don’t give you this answer because I don’t want to tell you, or because I’m afraid you will be upset. I don’t say this to torment you, or to make you guess what is on my mind.

I say this because I have no better answer. The balloon has slipped through my fingers. The idea is still just a hard lump of stone.

So instead, while we wait…can I ask you, “What are you thinking?”

This post is in response to the daily writing prompts Torment.

12 thoughts on “What Are You Thinking?”

  1. I know exactly what you mean. Nothing is worse than the fact that I can write and explain everything but when asked ‘What are you thinking?’ my mind draws an instant blank. And I stare at the person unable to speak because it so embarrassing that no words will come.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The balloon hasn’t slipped through your fingers. You wrote what you thought, not what you said. Do a word count and see how many words you wrote. You don’t realize that you didn’t need a prompt. You are too good a writer to be dependent on prompts. Try it. You will amaze yourself. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

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