I’ve got nothing at all profound to say right now, and so – as I often do – I am stalling, pretending like a bolt of inspiration will hit me and I’ll craft a piece of writing so insightful that it will be the one to bring people to their knees in a rush of emotion and life-changing realizations.
I know that’s not how it works, not only because to be able to write the words that change someone’s life is a rare, elusive endeavor. No, I’m old enough to know that writing successfully is mainly about writing steadily, without giving in to the critical whispers endlessly supplied by the invisible critic, and without giving in to the many distractions – Internet, cleaning, making tea – that suddenly become almost irresistible.
All of that, and more, is happening for me right now. Rather than ignore it, I figure I might as well tell you about it.
I’m allowing the critic to pester me: What do you have to say, he’s asking. You haven’t even used your passport this year, he’s reminding me. You’re letting this love of writing fall by the wayside, he’s taunting me. Why not just publish one of the dozens of posts you’ve got sitting in your files. He’s laughing in my face with that one, an evil gnomish creature with a deafening cackle.
My common sense – is that what it should be called? – jumps in. The critic and the common sense: it sounds like a cruel sideshow act. Disguised as encouragement, this voice also pokes at me: You know what to do, it says. The answer is always the same: just write. Write. Write.
Sigh. Yes, I know. That’s what I’m doing. It’s just not going anywhere.
I was very young when I first called myself a Writer, with a capital W. It’s one of the few ways that I’ve steadily identified myself over the span of my life, to the point where I can’t imagine who I’d be without it, even though I question now what it really means. What’s the measure of writing? Of being a writer? I started this blog in March of 2014 because I wanted something to push me. I knew there wouldn’t always be things to write about, yet I wanted the challenge of writing anyway, of saying something; I craved the humbling experience of putting out whatever came to mind for an invisible audience to digest.
I don’t know if it’s like this for other people, for other writers who are (or who are not) writing, or for the people who find themselves so connected to another endeavor that sometimes it feels foolish. That’s how I often feel – foolish – when I sit in front of this computer, reaching for the words that I thought would come easy. Right now, I have the luxury of some extra hours each day, and I intend to use them.
There is nothing more satisfying, more frustrating, more maddening, more invigorating, more defeating, in my life than writing. I love it to pieces. So though this collection of words says nothing at all, I’m going to post it anyway.
Maybe it’ll mean something, to someone. Maybe not. Perhaps the success of this moment is not found in the response, or lack thereof, from others. Maybe, instead, it is all about the creation of these words, the vulnerability of putting them out there, the shy admission that I don’t really know what I’m doing when I sit down to write, and the possibility of connection around that simple recognition that part of this human experience is that unabashed love we carry, as individuals, for things we cannot explain.
What do you think? What do you wonder? What do you feel? What do you do?