Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Writing.

Writing, in and of itself, is nothing.
Writing, in and of itself, is everything.
Writing, in and of itself, is enough.
Writing, in and of itself, can never be enough.

Writing, in and of itself, is the one truly human act of creation.

An unlettered child can sing and make music. An untutored child can draw or paint a picture. But to write requires mastery, the drawing together of language, logic and rhetoric in the flow of thoughts and ideas, streams of consciousness, poetic metre and prosaic rhythm. To write requires a consciousness beyond the self, beyond the itch and scratch of animal need, beyond the demotic prosody of circumstance; beyond the fixations of a fevered mind, the obsessive ordering of black and white, the chicken scratchings on white vellum that betray a mind too narrow and too cluttered.

Yet writing, in and of itself, is destruction, a crucifixion, the nailing of bloodied words to the white and plastic page. The deaths of endless possibilities lies cold and grim 'neath the gravid wealth of words. At twelve minutes past four in the morning I lie, sleepless and uncomfortable. I press old hands against tired eyes. Words and ideas form in flashes of green and blue, exploding like raindrops on a slate roof, their vital water running into dark gutters, sluiced into oblivion. Unless I rise and write they'll slip away, stripping meaning from my mind in shreds and shards, pouring the endless flow of babble and cant into the darkness.

Yet to rummage in the cluttered drawers of self-regard and bathos does not constitute writing. For something further demands itself. A net of meaning that strains our glittering thoughts from the air, a lacework web of hooks that catches the mind of another, and another. Writing is more than typing or calligraphy. It links pure spirits, one to another. Successful writing, like true magic, calls spirits together.

And in that meeting something more is spawned. Living things are formed and shape themselves, drawing light and breath and existence from the ether. From the play of words, from style and substance, chirp and charm, from word and meme and memory. And we must create ourselves with the net, with the lacework tale, the story of our self and our words, or else disappear, fade like fog in wisps and whispers, vanish like love in tears and tantrums.

For if writing is the one truly human act of creation, then all writing springs from love. From the cleaving of separate selves from the All and One, from the cleaving together of kindred spirits. Sentences spring to bridge the gap elastic, stretching out to one another, drawing us in each to the other. Love calls forth and we must answer. The urge to be, to unite, to be known is unanswerable, more demanding and more stern than any mistress. A love of self that is truly selfless, the love for another that is our truest self, our most honest need and gravest weakness.

Our words we weave to bridge the unbridgeable. Bright phrases bubble in the dark, spreading light in flashing smiles. Turns of phrase return and turn again. Rare words like lepidoptera open sunlit wings, winking with false eyes. The juggle of wit and the gaudy display of learning conspire in secret falsehoods, inviting and ever misconstrued. We tell our lies in one another's heads. And on we write or like the circling shark die of lost momentum and petered-out thoughts, of loves lost and little princes found. The sandalled footprint of childish wisdom disappears into the desert of silence. The eye that reads blinks once and we are gone. Our words fade from the virgin page, restoring virtue in perfect punctuation.

To write is to exist.

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