Words and worlds

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.


One response to “Words and worlds

  1. Interesting. I always seem to find that the more I consume, the more I create – ideas inspire me and I get such a kick out of reading and watching that I absorb the energy and run with it. I think it also works the other way round as well in that the more I create the more I want to lock into more ideas and connect with creative energy (read, watch and discuss stuff).

    I’m not sure that the real dichotomy is between producing and consuming – I think it’s a more subtle issue of directing energy and whether you’re feeling it or not. Does that make sense? I think a lot of people are walking around (and our society is wired up to do this) and not appreciating or truly absorbing the world around them, functioning but not grasping any deep meaning or essence as they go about their lives. You can be reading loads and producing a lot of stuff, but the difference is in ‘the soul’ and depth. I think it’s more mindset that actual action of “I am writing something” and “I am reading something”. Ideas are the crucial thing and actually acknowledging them and appreciating them is what’s important rather than doubt about not consuming/creating enough or just not thinking.

    Does any of that make any sense at all? Anyway, don’t feel bad about not writing – if the thoughts and idea fragments are in your mind then you’re okay and eventually, inspiration to act upon them will come. 🙂

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