After the unsurprising reversion of my blogging from daily to occasionally here’s the thing:
I’ve gone from wanting to have my say on things to wanting to say nothing, from being in the chair to wanting never to be in the chair (see below).
I realised lately that since writing has become an online-presence kind of career, I’ve felt increasing pressure to express my views. I also feel the unhappy panic of those about to be left behind as the herd gallops onward, chattering, to the horizon. I feel I should apologise for not managing to be the cheery, engaging writer with a daily upbeat post. Instead, I offer you gaps of silence.
I used to write quite a lot about things that really bothered me. I’m a philosopher by nature, always asking why. I believed that doing this was really going to make some progress, like I could solve issues and not just describe them, like I was part of a giant conversation that was going to a great place. I don’t feel that way now. In fact I have an ever-increasing conviction that writing philosophy is driving an eighteen wheeler Optimus Prime-style juggernaut on just one wheel. I did love that dream of improving things, though. Dang it.
So now I’m in a more zen sort of phase and I know I can’t get anywhere on one wheel. To confuse a couple of images – like in the picture above, I’m hoping to be fully present in that empty chair. I’m there, but you can’t see me. When I’ve said nothing, then we’re on all eighteen wheels. When the writing goes like that and seems to write itself, that’s when I’m getting somewhere.
And finally, mostly I say nothing because I don’t know the answer to anything (unless it’s kindness. IS it kindness? I hope it’s kindness. I’m going to put that on my final exam anyway) and I feel I shouldn’t speak without that kind of confidence. But please don’t mistake my silence for a lack of care or lack of engagement. I’m always thinking, watching. I’m here. I’m listening. I’m present. I think of you often, reader, and I am so grateful for your existence. Thanks for taking things out for a drive.
Storytelling, in particular the absorption of a story through a book or novel form, is the most powerful virtual reality that there is, even including technologies which offer full sensory immersion.
The reason for this is that a reader involves not only their senses but their whole inner reality (where the whole world is created) with the book. A story is not a bunch of facts, lined up, analysed, pointed at. A story is a mix of magic and logic, belief and disbelief. It is the essence of miracles where you are not a prisoner of logic and the bright lights, big cities of reason.
If you have not been carried away by a story like a child on the back of a runaway horse, you have not experienced the fullness of what it is to be human. That’s why we write stories, to try to give, to catch for a moment, this miraculous, incredible strange, this wonderful, terrible thing that is life.
You don’t have to read my stories but please if you do anything with your ability to read go and find some incredible lives and strangest things. Immerse in the language of life!