I have missed writing.
It feels like there is a gap, somewhere. As though something has been muffled.
I am not sure what has been muffled. The reason I have not been writing is because I have not had anything that I desperately want to say.
I have written this post before.
It is funny how sometimes we have to go round and round the same circles again.
Since I realised I missed writing, I have started talking about missing writing. It has added to my frustration rather than resolving it.
“What do you want to write?”
“I don’t know”
“It’ll come when it’s meant to. There’s no point in writing for the sake of writing”
…which is exactly what I am doing now.
I read an article over Christmas about a life optimised for consuming things rather than one optimised for creating them. It sent uncomfortable shivers through me. It talked about those people who spend their days listening and reading and watching and skimming through a million different communications, and how they had become better at filtering out the crap than absorbing the good stuff –
And I realised that it was describing me.
Create. Anything. Was the message….
Even though I fundamentally agreed, I have been ignoring the advice.
I am hungry for books at the moment. For the first time in a long time, I can’t seem to get enough of other people’s words –
It struck me recently that I have been re-using the same words for a while now. That my vocabulary has gotten narrower and narrower until it has become a slim menu of the same terms in a variety of arrangements. I wonder why it is scary to step outside of the boundaries of the words that we have always used. I wonder if there is a danger to this; a risk that, if language is a way of reading and writing the world, shrinking the vocabulary also shrinks the story or means that other worlds become out of bounds? I stumbled over some teenagers’ comments online a few weeks ago and it felt like I was standing on the other side of a wall.
I guess words can be as divisive as they are connective.
Jeanette Winterson writes – “We get our language back through the language of others”. She talks about writing as owning or taking control of your story. About voice. I have already highlighted a million passages in her new book. Each paragraph seems to be loaded with insights that either resonate deeply or make me step back and think –
And, I suppose, that these are the conclusions I have reached.
That you can not easily separate out creating things from consuming things because, without consumption (to borrow the formal language), the frame of creativity gets narrower until you’re always saying the same thing; and, without creation, it is hard to process the impact of what you have been consuming. Or it is for me, anyway.
That maybe it goes in swings and roundabouts and it’s important to have time to absorb new things in order to be able to create different things – and that the challenge is not to get lost in finding the ‘best’ things which is, when I don’t take it literally, the point the article was trying to make.
That it is important to remember why creation is important – because it means that we keep evolving – and that, as personal as writing and creating is, it is always a strange kind of giving taking exchange.
That language is central to that exchange and words work in the same way as worlds – you can get locked in.