20 April 2014

Destiny and the Lonely Writer

I told myself I was going to hit "publish" on this post no matter what happened.

Here goes.

I am a writer who has gotten out of the habit of writing.  You would be justified in asking (O mysterious reader) why I call myself a writer if I'm not, in fact, producing many words.  Although I write something down nearly every day, it may just be a paragraph in a journal, something like, "I do not like the way this day is going.  I wish the weather would clear up so I could see the sky.  It feels as though the sky has gotten lower in my life too because of busyness."  These little bursts are like the trickling of a water balloon with a leak.  The words must get out.  I'm filled with them.

To be Edith is to be a writer, the way for some to be Welsh is to be a singer.  It was not a quality I chose for myself and it has not always felt welcome.  When art becomes like a runner's addiction it can get painful.  One almost wishes one hadn't built up the stamina so that one's legs needed the daily exercise.  One cannot rid them of the energy except by running.  I cannot rid myself of this poetic kind of energy except by writing.

Sometimes I have simply refused.  I have told myself I had better things to do than write what I wanted, which was fiction.  I have curled up inside and held myself tight, hiding from the need to face the page.  But it never left.  It only became cramped, sore, or worse, ingrown.  And the blank page was always waiting for me somewhere.

I am facing the page now.  I am tugging at myself, trying to let myself uncurl inside, to stretch and stand up straight, and there is pain in the process.  There has been so much tension for so long that it could not have been painless to ease out of it.  But it is the pain of healing.  I hope I am becoming wise enough to know that the pain of healing, or the pain of facing the page, is better than the pain of denial.

So I will hit "publish" on this post.  It helps me to know that my trickle of words doesn't flow out into a vacuum.  You may be out there, somewhere, the nebulous "you," the representative of the world I am trying to reach with my writer's voice.  And if you are there, you may be listening.  It might help me to know; but whether or not I know I must keep writing, sending out my voice, as though you are there, as though it does matter, even if in the end the only answer I get is an echo.  Myself is better company than none.

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