I’m trying to enter this year full of positivity, good intentions and motivation to achieve some big goals. I’ve been working hard on this posture since December. So, it was challenging to come home on New Years Day to discover my second-most valuable writing tools had been stolen.

My Macbook Pro, which I use to write, edit and publish – not to mention many other day-to-day tasks. Hundreds of documents, ideas, InDesign files and otherwise. Thankfully 95% of that work is backed up in the cloud. But replacing the tools will be expensive and frustrating. It won’t happen right away.

The second, my iPad, is one of the main resources I use daily to feed my brain. I use it primarily to read and digest news articles, online magazines and books. I’m feeling teary about the bookmarks I’ve likely lost. Ugh. Still – they are only words and the good ones stick, right?

The most important writing tools – my hands, pens, journals and my mind, they are all fine. Really. I am safe, so are my housemates. Nothing else was taken, we believe they were interrupted. I know they are unlikely to return in the short-term, but there is still a moment of uncertainty. There will be new bolts on the doors and windows. I have no desire to repeat previous self-defence endeavours, regardless of my courage or capability. I will be fine, but something has been stolen from me. I can only hope that some good comes of this moment.

I am grateful for what was left untouched – my precious journals and poetry books, a ring, my guitars. So – what else is there to do but write? What was really stolen? Words. About 13,500 of them by my count – the article ideas and about a chapter of the novel I’ve been working on for such a long time. Just what wasn’t caught in the latest backup.

So here’s some words about the words that were taken.

It takes such a long time to drag them out,
the good ones, carefully sculpted sentences.
As if I carried them in womb, once born cord must be cut –
my ideas become their own, independent creatures.
So the labour is hard, to wrestle these thoughts from my body
and give them up into the world.
Now harder still, the wrestling is done but no life comes.
Just a space where words once were but won’t be seen, not as they intended to be born.
I’ll do the birthing, call it a born-again, always now wondering
what if, what could have been?

What sentence that on which the story once hung so sweet?
Which words of love and truth now miss their true intent?
That turn of phrase so perfect, flickers at the edge of memory –
so I must give you up, stolen moment, stolen thought.
To do it all again makes my muscles ache, my mind grows heavy.
I will whisper, only the good ones stick.