I’m afraid to write. It’s so dangerous. Anyone who’s tried, knows. The danger of stirring up hidden things – and the world is not on the surface, it’s hidden in its roots submerged in the depths of the sea. In order to write I must place myself in the void. In this void is where I exist intuitively. But it’s a terribly dangerous void: it’s where I wring out blood. I’m a writer who fears the snares of words: the words I say hide others – which? maybe I’ll say them. Writing is a stone cast down a deep well.
Do I write or not?…A light and gentle meditation on the nothing…
Does “writing” exist in and of itself? No. It is merely the reflection of a thing that questions. I work with the unexpected. I write the way I do without knowing how and why – it’s the fate of my voice. The timbre of my voice is me. Writing is a query. It’s this: ?
I write for nothing and for no one…I don’t make literature: I simply live in the passing of time. The act of writing is the inevitable result of my being alive…
I feel as though I’m still not writing…My problem is the fear of going mad. I have to control myself…And so I’ll leave a page blank or the rest of the book – I’ll come back when I can.
To swirl. There. He said it, stated intention, directly. To be lost, languishing (anguish is in there), full of lose and seeking, squirming, rutting, snuffling about. Scent search of what? Or not what quite, but how, now? The unknowable, uncertain, which lies beyond perhaps, inaccessible, indeterminate, resistant to decipher, discretion, or decode. He plies. Ruin of movement, beyond conceit and loosely bound, tearing terror of graspage. An infinity of words, or if not, many disordered magnitudes more compossibly complex than he –wrecked in kind with troubles of time, reductions of selection. What means, all knotted in already-known. A scumble then, without, arms treading, legs a-flutter, cognition confused in the mass, mess, unaccommodated, arranged re-arranging, affective and effecting, assaying never fully, nor enough, insufficient temporals and scope, shortfall of finitude, unbecoming, irrealized, incomputable surround. To swirl or swoon perhaps – intends eccentric excentricity, without with-in, within outside and othering. Immersed, submerged, tumbling almost-struggle, almost-drift, thoroughfare and passaging, limning swaths of runnels, channels, margins. Copiously coping, how would he go? What are the motions lesser than stir and more absorptive? And what of the when? Who now, where now, how when? Confusion, then – confusion, swooning and swirl. A wriggling receipt, some commingling transference transmitting, attention intending undoing, origins ever receding, irremediable in rot and excess, dismembered invention – begin – excise and evince, glide of erasure and uncover, indiscernible activity of process, waving particles, particular waves, currents and tropes, passively permeable patterning passageways [not that!] imperceptible part-i-cipatory breakage and shatter, dispersion deconstructing refusal. He ruins, inevitably. That stands – there. Unworking integration every angle or approach, from inside, decay, a desiccate and undone doing. Mismade by allowance, a scribbling palimpsest or correction – be cognized, be written, be spoken, transcribed – he wails into unruly, disruptive, erupting fluid floodings of voiding, of nothing. Not afloat, asail, aswim. Neither drowning nor submerged. Nearly saturate with swallow and exhale, a lineament on empty, some faulty trace.
Within the lip and loom of limbo. Limb lazy, almost unperturbed, but living still, slightly shaken, a subtle stir.
Difference scarcely scored, imperceptible is not worth mention. A canny kind of collude. There (might be) this, (might be) that – too hard to say, and who could do it? Only one driven to be wrong, reductive, defining. Only one agitated or alarmed by the way of things – that there were no way.
Indiscernibles. Indeterminate. Impossible to compute: is how it is. These signs erase, and we are there. As if in front with, as if of face and gaze. As if event. As if participant and become. As if no one might tell apart.
Why tell apart?
Wrangled together in wrestle, why choose? If breath must mingle to say, why delegate, select? Cloud moves over, under and through, toward, into, and away – to no one’s noticeable chagrin. Why we?
Tender spots trace gentle rain, in river, barrel, lake, exempt of rage or reason. Only a sprinkle, a feed and possible weal, so glance and touch, brush and care, a slightly stumble, a cell’s conceive.
Misremembered, but no mind, flavor, sight, the wind through trees. Nothing is without. Nothing alone, should it perchance to be. Mysterious, illogical motive of undoing. Prepositional violence. Pre-positions, a tearing apart.
Muscle, scent, and fur. The various forms of water – cloud, drizzle, flow. Flesh with flesh and whispered angles. Breath with sound and ear. A thought.
Inseparability and subterfuge. Had never been, may not be, unstill it is…the way….questionally unquestioned, sifting in drift, conjunctions of convergence, some impossible begin.
Martin responds, wondering. Curious as to that which it applies, or whom, or what. Contemplating reference. Filled with questions. Martin says, “yes,” almost under his breath.
Elf shrugs. Elf walks on.
Martin follows, thinking, looking at leaves falling into blades of grass, alerted by the shushing and darting of squirrels, saddened at the amplified pffft of cars passing by. Wishing for silence. Wondering if Elf will speak a further word or two. Sensing like a dowsing rod for meanings.
Walks on. Shuffles. Walks on.
There’s a relative silence from the two of them – these humans wandering across a concreted trail. Sure there’s the sound of their footfalls, scuffles, even some noise in the pause of it. Or the noise of the absence of noise. But you’d have to be different to hear the breathing, the heart pulse, the slide of muscles and blood. As far as humans-in-environs go, the pair presents retraction.
Hard to say for soil. The squares composing sidewalk must suffer pressure, absorbed by the earth beneath and shared out through verberations for miles. Hard to say for air. Full-grown males, plodding forth like prows along a rickety line-of-motion has to be pushing particles around, making waves. Nothing gives report.
Elf stops and sighs.
Martin responds, slowing, looking out, looking forward, looking round. Lets his hands limp his sides.
Elf crouches down.
Martin scans the street, examines bark, follows trunks and branches, admires leaves and colors and movements. Birds.
I really “mean” it when I say that I don’t know what I am writing, and that the REAL WHY is because I want to write, and am able, and that I honestly have no character, event, or idea in mind or body as I apply this mediatory marking instrument (ball-point-pen) between whatever-myself-is and this-blank-lined-paper.
I truly might be WASTING LIVING TIME.
OR…might be recording something useful…providing traces…leaving marks of process…like masturbation, cooking, politics, or work – HOW LIVING TIME IS “WASTED.”
Who knows? The scientists? Or neurobiologists? The philosophers or anthropologists? Historians? Pastors? Sociologists? CEOs? Artists? Who determines (evaluates and judges) what is “waste” from what is “significant”/”important”? Do humans? Does Time?
For what it’s worth, I have an ellipsis of minutes I am not (apparently) needed by children, pets, work, or world…and so I have taken up a writing tool and am drawing letters in collectives called words onto an empty section of a blank lined notebook.
Is this valuable? Don’t we wonder or ask this regarding every action and breath? From holding a child, to exercise; fixing plumbing to sleeping? Laundry. School. DOES THIS MATTER?!? And, if it might, to WHOM or WHAT…why?
I cannot imagine to whom it might matter that I am stumbling out sentences with nothing in mind other than WRITING, TO-BE-WRITING – excepting my insignificant eperiencing of “self” that WANTS TO BE WRITING – in any case. Therefore, I AM writing.
All those who seem to depend on me for their well-being, survival (or SENSE of same) also SEEM to be surviving and existing at relative comfort. Those who purchase (shamefully) my “LIFE.TIME” via employment – have proffered the day off as a normative weekend practice. For the time being, apparently NOTHING has immediate NEED of me, so I am left to determine what to do with “TIME.”
And because I overhear myself continuously complaining, desiring, wishing and bemoaning that I ‘never have time’ to write – I AM WRITING. Because.
As far as I can tell, I am writing nothing (of worth) because, as much as I desire to write, I actually don’t know WHAT to write, or for WHOM, or WHAT – and so i am just WRITING because. Serving no one, not even myself, yet perhaps. Perhaps, because the WANT or URGE “to write” as a writer…is NOT to WRITE SOMETHING (as far as I can surmise – albeit I also regularly wish I were writing something ‘great’ or ‘evental,’ etc…) but truly is simply to be IN THE ACT OF…WRITING, which I AM, and therefore I cannot know what good any of it does beyond being what I wish I were doing…becoming ACTUAL.
Wishes come true: I AM WRITING.
To no point of purpose but the fulfillment of desire: I AM DOING WHAT I WANT TO BE DOING: I AM WRITING. And it does feel good, and part of it (I think) feels good because I am unable to discover a path, direction, or ‘way’ for it to feel good FOR.
The map began as a scribble, a doodle. Begins as a failure to write, to “compose.”
In lieu of a word there’s a wiggle of pen wandering aimless in search. Cartography-graphology-psychology – a loitering for logos.
Begins this way – in hope of words, a sort of squiggle. A body desiring a mind. To show up, to take over, provoke or convince – to appear, make a meaning, disclose – to figure toward sign. Some unconcealing.
The signal’s not there, so it moves: the hand, the instrument, the breath and the heart – are they tools? And for what? A cartographer’s dream. Of no training, no knowledge, even reason is lacking.
A pen making marks on a page, mapping none. Tracing nonsense. It begins in this way, and it leads, so he hopes (it hopes, is hope, is desire).
The scrawl travels over the page – given borders and boundaries, arbitrary and set – 6”x9” and lined with a soft viscous grey. He (it) slows down. Just a hand and an arm and a shoulder – in motion – holding a technical device filled with fluid – black, yes, like bile, but less tacky, diluted – it flows, threading lines – it’s con-fusion – yet taking, biting, inscribed. Something happens. Drawings are locked to a medium stock. Incomprehensibles stained on a page.
It crawls on.
This mapping begins in a loss. He is lost. It is lost. Doesn’t “know.” Just beginning, because – with desire. It is driven, compelled, WRITER WANTS (for to write) with “nothing to write, and no means to write it” yet constrained to keep writing, to expunge merely SOMEthing, some THING. Which is NO thing, no THING, but to mark. It goes on.
Makes a map, a map-ping, tangled series of lines meaning nothing, no THING, but creating TO-WARD. Ward off absence, off void, ward off death, this is to – .
It (he) is tired. Is forlorn. Is an absence and loss, a re-mission, re-cursion, re-morse. And not even that clear.
Scribbles on. NOT a map. NOT directions. For NO where to go – NOW here, now HERE, no-where. Which begins all the longing, for “he’s” heard it said, found it written – in signs, in-scribed, sign-i-fied: but NOT HERE. Not in him or this body. NOT THIS. No sense. Non-sense. “It’s” not “working.”
Trail dwindles along cross the page. It’s a map. Just of being. NOW here. Now. HERE. Looks like this – some electrocardiomusculoskeletalpsycognilinguadigital-gram. From this angle, this tool, these techniques. As a Ouija. No meaning. Saussurating. Arbitrary. Mediate. Only markings.
And so it begins – as a failure to write – as a scribble – an assay – a tribute to write – that cannot, that will not, that does not…quite occur.
I feel somewhat apologetic, but here is one more selection from my archives. Another that when I re-read I am unable to see how I might do better, or how I ever got it done at all, yet all my work un-published or rejected, so I know it is not “good enough” per whatever the current cultural milieu would prefer. “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Perhaps. In any case, it circles around for me like the tail-eating snake I am, in hopes it might engender something new, no, in hopes it might be put to rest. For any who read it, I would be hard pressed to metaphor my astonishment, humility, gratitude and begging-of-patience, including a sheer and sharp ache of deep appreciation for your life’s time and likely unwarranted, gracious, attention.
“And in life, meaning is not instantaneous. Meaning is discovered in what connects, and cannot exist without development. Without a story, without an unfolding, there is no meaning. Facts, information, do not in themselves constitute meaning. Facts can be fed into a computer and become factors in a calculation. No meaning, however, comes out of computers, for when we give meaning to an event, that meaning is a response, not only to the known, but also to the unknown: meaning and mystery are inseparable, and neither can exist without the passing of time. Certainty may be instantaneous; doubt requires duration: meaning is born of the two. An instant photographed can only acquire meaning insofar as the viewer can read into it a duration extending beyond itself. When we find a photograph meaningful, we are lending it a past and a future.”