Ideas continue to bubble up, and sometimes desire. But there is no time, and not much energy. Writing feels like something I used to do, a long time ago.
The actors always convince me, to my horror, that most of what I’ve written about them until now is false. It is false because I write about them with steadfast love (even now, while I write it down, this, too, becomes false) but varying ability, and this varying ability does not hit off the real actors loudly and correctly but loses itself dully in this love that will never be satisfied with the ability and therefore thinks it is protecting the actors by preventing this ability from exercising itself.
~ Franz Kafka
It is as if an author were to make a slip of the pen, and as if this clerical error became conscious of being such. Perhaps this was no error but in a far higher sense was an essential part of the whole exposition. It is, then, as if this clerical error were to revolt against the author, out of hatred for him, were to forbid him to correct it, and were to say, “No, I will not be erased, I will stand as a witness against thee, that thou art a very poor writer.”
~ Søren Kierkegaard
These two quotes form the epigraph that opens Seymour: An Introduction, the last published book by J.D. Salinger, a book which, at one level (and there are many) is a book about writing. What these quotes say, among other things, is that, at times, as soon as you try to write, you find yourself killing that thing you were wanting to say.
I have not been writing lately. There are many reasons for this, and some are even legitimate. One of them is that as soon as I start to put something into words, it dies. It may be my desire to write. Or it may be that my attempt to write about that thing kills it. The end is the same. No words.
That’s okay. This will pass. This sense, this difficulty, has come and gone before. It’s come again, and it will go again. And there’s no sense in forcing yourself to say things that don’t want to be said.
In the meantime, there is silence. Which I’m finding is something we all need more of.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
Selected reading since May 3, 2017: