Thursday, August 23, 2012

The fickle gift of writing

Becoming, and becoming again.  Searching after perfection is seemingly the most endless road, and it appears even farther when I place before myself the task to write.  It's a constant struggle, an impassioned lust, and, dare I say, an unrequited love.

When I look at the blank page and hold the pen in my hand I can sometimes feel the twinge of inspiration, as if the muse has finally deigned to grace my crestfallen will.  Then, I look back 30 minutes, an hour later, and there's nothing, simply because I've allowed myself to be distracted in the silly and sophomoric hope that "yes, I can think of something better."  It's all folly.  Or vanity?  Probably vanity.

I think constantly about writing style: what form should my prose take?  Should I echo Hemingway or Waugh, Gilson or some abstracted and rarified Shakespearean mode?  The many paths and forms make my head spin around the winding streets of a medieval town.  Except that there's a church in the centre of such a town, so at least I can take solace in that fact.

Writing presents itself, in many ways, as a doubled edged sword: the one side cutting through the overgrowth and unkempt garden that the world can sometimes be; the other slicing through my very heart, piercing at my mind and torturing my body.  Putting words down is often easy enough, it can come naturally with effervescence and a light ebullience that captures the very heart of the subject matter ... but then there are times when it's the very dregs of Hell.  Satan himself seems to be summoned to poison my intellect and stop up my pen.  

But I digress, or do I wax too melodramatic?  My wife would undoubtedly say the latter, but then, that's what wives are for: to hold their men accountable and keep them, in simple and loving terms, realistic.  And mine, I must confess, is fantastic at her job -- read, vocation.

To get back to the unrequited romance that is writing, however, I believe that being able to craft the perfect poem or the unequaled essay is itself an act of love.  It represents an awkward and broken consent -- but a full consent -- to a fickle and yet magnificent gift.  When a good writer writes, he is able to give a part of himself over to the reader, who can then, in his own time, take the writer into his heart, and let those words take residence within, the writer's ideas become those of the reader, and together they share in something intimate, they share in each other in a yet-to-be-metaphysically-understood way.

The danger, obviously, in being a writer -- or at least for one in love with writing, though not necessarily good at it -- is the tendency to go on, and on, and on. Long-windedness and the desire to abscond from brevity are curses of a kind, and I admit that I have succumbed in this instance to the rather unnecessary wordiness for which in my much younger years I was given bad marks.  To you, the reader, I therefore apologise and beg pardon, as the muse has flitted on to another unlucky soul. 

1 comment:

  1. Fear not the fickleness of the act of writing but the writer. Once the writer discards turmoil and indecisiveness, creativity will flow like a majestic waterfall allowing beautiful and powerful words for the reader to enjoy. Unstability melts away into wonderment.