the things i haven't
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
To write this blog I need to say all the things I haven’t.
I will need to say all the things that repeat so often in my head that speaking them seems pointless.
All the things I didn’t share because maybe they had already been shared in more interesting language by others.
All the meaningful moments, breakthroughs and beginnings of stories I never wrote down because I couldn’t see any time in the future that would allow me to develop them into “something”.
To write this blog I will need to draw out the insights I keep quiet because I can only find the usual, saturated words to describe them, and, I say to myself, if I am going to do my epiphanies any justice at all, the words need to be as fresh as the feelings.
I’m going to need to challenge my censor, my critic, my second, third and fourth guesser, my doubter and my saboteur.
I’m going to need to keep writing even through the days of dawning futility...
and through the ones that follow, with their feet, thoughts and commitments dragging behind them
in muddy exhaustion.
“Say it anyways”
“Just keep writing”
“Don’t read back what you wrote until you are done”
All wise words from my teenage son who has already finished 2 whole novels and has no doubt that the world needs to hear what he has to say.
“How do you decide what is worth writing down?” I ask my dad,
He is also a writer, who would interrupt our meal together with
“Hold on! I’m having a thought!”
and grab a napkin from the table and his pen from his shirt pocket and cover the thin, beige paper with scribbles.
Sometimes he had his little mini tape recorder and I would have to stop chewing so he could speak his “thought” into its memory for later.
Part of me thought of writing as a self-indulgent act, a disembodied, rather frantic self-importance in which people spent so much time in their head they were convinced everything in it was an answer to the world’s most important questions.
Maybe it IS self-indulgent, maybe it IS the imagination creating a reality we can manage, one we can name and understand, and maybe that's ok.
Maybe we all do this, make up reality, or create a shared reality, or jump into someone else’s.
We adopt stories and make them The Truth, sometimes not even knowing where the story came from or who told it first.
Culture is made up of such stories, Stories which many people decide to follow and then exist in mutual truth of the “way things are”.
These stories get so loud they often drowns out our own.
Our reality in each moment is made up of where we are putting our focus.
The places our attention goes is what will grow inside us and what will eventually surround us.
So what IS worth writing down? What is worth the time, the energy, the resources?
What matters enough?
My dad doesn’t answer but as usual asks me a question back.
“Worth it to whom?”
“Who is deciding the value?”
That propelled me into a few years spent among successive epiphany-inducing questions about authority, God, and who was actually The Boss of things.
I’ve played as subject to a few bosses and tried to form myself in the images of others, or in the projected values of this culture.
After some anxious and insecure decades I have come back to my imagination.
I have come back to my body and its responses to the places I take it.
Back to listening and being curious,
like a child who doesn't know enough yet to judge "good and bad"
I have come back to the only moment that ever was. Now.
Matter is made of decisions.
It is made up of singular moments of energy choosing where to go and what to interact with,
how to express the forces that pull upon them.
All put together they make a life… or a planet, or a new person.
So what will we make matter?
What will we make physical with our efforts?
What particles are we pulling from thin air and creating things with?
What are we bringing into existence that other’s can touch, or that can touch them?
It is gravity, magnetism, a viscous circle,
or a vicious one maybe,
if we let have fear lead us around.
I know, through regular practices in other things, that the more we do something, the more real it becomes, the more it gives back, the more it inspires.
So I’ll start using my voice memo function on my phone,
and I’ll pull over to write down that question.
I’ll keep my notebook by the bed, or near the bath so I can catch those relaxed and fleeting wisdoms….so I can write this blog.
I will tell the stories that I remember so well that they have become like growths, extra grey matter, so that my brain swells and concusses against my skull.
I will say all those random, poignant phrases that seem disjointed yet all together prove to be linked.
What this all really means is that I will listen and notice. And maybe I’ll never find the place that connects all those threads, never weave that larger masterpiece I know is there and that that says it all.
But maybe I am that place, maybe my life is that masterpiece.
Maybe it is about slowing down, opening my mouth, breathing and just letting it spill out.