Sunday, March 19, 2017

Writing, content

Occasionally I have an idea for a blog entry, an essay, or a poem. I think about the idea, toss it around mentally, but I never sit down to write it out. After a while, a day or two, the idea submerges or slides off stage - pick your metaphor for quiet disappearance - and life goes on. I am aware that I am letting an idea pass. I watch myself letting the idea dies out, "at least for the time being," I say to myself, and I am unconcerned. There may be a tinge of regret as I recall when my life seemed to hinge on the next thing written, but those days are past. I no longer depend on what I write.

I've taken to believing that a thing, if true, written or not, remains true. I have always held that only true things matter for writing and that writing matters for revealing the truth. I still believe this, that the effort of writing is a critical one for for the well-being and salvation of the human race and of ourselves as individuals. I believe this. I also believe that all truth is connected at the source of truth which is God. So, the truth that is writing is connected to the truth that is love, to the truth that is kindness, to the truth of eternal law.

I have worked hard over the last several years to live in truth; for my behavior and dealings with others and toward myself to be truthful. I've had to understand and change some things about myself. This is an ongoing process. And there are times when I recognize thoughts and feelings I have not had for many years, even since I was a child.

I am happier now than I have ever been. Writing is different though. Writing is not, as it was for many years, even decades, the solitary device which saved my life and brought me to the world. All parts of my life have this value now. In light of this, what should my writing be? What can it do to justify itself?

I would like to write in such a way that maintains silence. I would like to write is such a way that the reader is affected but not swayed. I want the reader to think first and foremost about themselves. I would like the reader, while he or she is reading this writing, to be able to think about themselves better, more clearly. I would like the reader, when they have finished reading, to be thinking about themselves rather than me or my name. I would like a kind of writing where I disappear from the reader.

I do not know what this writing would look like or even whether it exists or can exist, but that is what my writing would have to look like for me to want to create it. That is what it would have to be to make an impression on me in the life I currently live, if I'm going to be honest about it.

And why not be honest about it? Until I am capable of writing that makes sense for where I am now, am I not bound to be content with my life as a whole? And even if I were able to produce this writing, would not the same conditions apply?

I no longer depend on what I write but on how I live my life as a whole. I think this frees me up as a writer, whether I write or not. It certainly frees me up as a reader. I read more and with less concern for myself (as a writer) than as a person receiving another's work. I enjoy hearing new work at poetry readings. Anything is fine with me. But I like also reading old favorites, Robert Lowell in particular. Walking familiar roads and seeing things afresh, with a more generous, open heart.

I really have no idea what's next for me in writing, or painting, or anything of that nature. I am strangely content (and a little excited) waiting to see, turning ideas over in my mind only to watch them fade and disappear. It's a pleasant sadness, the notion that does not adhere, this qualified peace.