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Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I was a Writer. You can find that in some of the older posts on this blog. Especially many of the first ones. Even now, when I go through my archives, I envy the clarity of my previous thoughts. Nowadays, everything seems so opaque, so obtuse, so changeable, and Writing is so so hard.

Today, I thought about Writing. I always think about Writing. Actually, I obsess over Writing all the time. The act of Writing, the process of Writing, the magic of Writing, the miracle of Writing. So obsessed with Writing that I don’t dare do any capital ‘W’ Writing. This is the kind of writing that builds, understanding, transcends ideas, unites new thoughts, systemises disparate experiences, clarifies your intentions, distils your desires and heals the soul. 

Writing requires you to have something to say beyond the arid technical process of stringing words into a sentence. Writing has to come from the heart, transmute the soul and issue with a force of will from the page. Nowadays, I don’t have anything that I want to say with that degree of heart. You can’t Write when  you’re struck down by the process of simply living.

So, when I say I don’t Write,  don’t get the impression that I mean I have literally nothing to say. I’m still as opinionated as ever.  I lack the will to do real work. To turn ideas, snatches, half collected thoughts into words. To form real opinions. The ability to see snatches in your head, of the perfect sentence half-deformed, the perfect counterpoint stillborn, the emotive, engaging gripping single sentence bound to a wheelchair by the crippling inability to give it the paragraph that it deserves. 

Wanting to Write, when all you can do is write, is to know you’re producing unintentional grotesques when you wanted to imitate the Pieta. I won’t do it. I won’t waste my time or my readers on poor quality drivel that I could generate by just dumping words on the page. Some of it might be of quality, and some of it might not be. Who wants to generate churn, fodder, wasted words that achieve such a poor result. Most importantly, I don’t get anything out of writing. Writing, was emotional, it was catharsis, it was growth, it was learning: writing is a faint shadow on a hazy summer day of that feeling.

Much easier just to keep doing things as before. Small letter ‘w’ writing is easy.  Write an email. Write a memo. Write a facebook comment. That you can do at least. Cause there’s no debate about why you’re doing that, or what you’re saying, or what it ultimately means. The answer is easy, it means nothing. Nothing in the long run turns on how I write those things, because my credit as a writer isn’t engaged. Those are about my skills as a professional, as a communicator, as a thinker. Nobody cares (past the threshold of comprehension) about the clarity, voice, warmth, feel, heft, weight, style of the writing. Nobody cares about what it means, beyond its surface level narrative. Nothing is bought together, no lessons are learned, no growth is possible, no healing found.

Nothing given. Nothing gained. Nothing written. Nothing learned. Nothing earned. Nothing lost.

Just poor writing.

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2 Comments

    • James Lewis
    • Posted August 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm
    • Permalink

    Mo. Writing is climbing a mountain.
    Each half-deformed sentence is a painful step.
    Each confused, weaving, meandering theme is searching for the trail.

    When we look back along the trail we’ve walked – often all we remember are the mountain-tops.

    When it’s been a while since you stood on a mountain-top you begin to forget what it cost to get there, and what it means to stand there.
    The only way to get that back is to climb again – one painful step at a time;
    To stand on a mountain-top again, and see again. In the present.

    The sacrifice, the humility, is part of the vista.

    Start Writing again.

      • mtalib
      • Posted August 11, 2012 at 7:03 pm
      • Permalink

      Vista is a word that has resonated for me in that comment. Part of what has challenged me – and why I don’t Write – is the loss of the perspective offered by the mountain peaks.

      The slow process of getting back on that path has started and I see this post as one of the first steps in remembering once again what it means to come to terms with myself and express it in a worthy manner.

      Thanks for the encouragement.


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