You wouldn’t believe it, would you? That it should sound so easy, to leave words behind?
To give them up.
To give, them, up? How could I? Haven’t words always been my bones, my bricks, my feathers and wings and roots? Haven’t they been the way I learn and forget and learn again? Hasn’t it always been writing, mine the quick answer to Rilke’s lingering question – whether I must write, else die. Haven’t I always said yes?
But I almost quit last night.
I imagined myself cutting loose the threads that moor me to a space in a corner of the world so much wider than I understand, or fathom; I imagined how it might be, to put away documents in folders, occupy my mind with the already-told stories, the things that are unique and breathtaking and here, in front of us.
I imagined silence replacing comment counting. I imagined tucking up my words like quilts in attic boxes. I imagined no more bending and breaking beneath the words and their silence and their speaking.
No stories that begin and end in the unfinished places, no more hitting “publish” on a post you’re never quite sure resounds the way you thought it would.
No more desperate cherishing of lithe or luminescence or blessing, of caress and carries, of child for the way their sound looks as it finds an ear, the way they build up meaning, the way they are.
It’s not the writing of it, it’s the reeling of the writing. It’s what I think I could write, if only. But, yet, then, I plaster together words with commas and prayers and they flutter groundward, and there still isn’t a good answer, or maybe any answer.
I’m bravest and most afraid here.
I imagined quitting to fold up inside a safer version of myself; I saw my years stretching out before me, word-less. I pressed my hands to my face, and thought I could see me, not undone by a poem or the way I cannot hear a character speak, not worried over the choice of light and illumine.
Brave and afraid, I write still.
Brave and afraid, I publish a post where I talk about the almost-quitting, the question of why someone would try this work of penning glory into syllables and vowels.
Brave, and afraid.