A long silence

posted in: Personal | 0

Sometimes there’s too much to say and sometimes there’s too little – excess verbosity oddly but easily becomes what we popularly know as “writer’s block”. The creation of content that has some limited but superficial meaning remains possible but content that is significant and meaningful sometimes ceases and later returns but without consistency and stability.

To find oneself without anything worth saying is a cause for concern (if not panic) but worse is to come: active non-expression – one might almost call it intellectual or creative catatonia – is an overwhelming and terrifying sensation and places one in a horribly dark place. To sit and stare at a blank page with no idea of how to fill it is as devastating as picking up a camera and staring blankly through the viewfinder with no idea of where to point it and inculcates the fear that maybe one no longer has anything worthwhile to say, nothing interesting to show others.

And that’s the crux of the matter: the creative mind demands that the creative act be ongoing, perpetually self-renewing and any interruption of the process is disturbing at best. So it is that I find myself writing about the process of not writing in an attempt to break free of the gravity well of intellectual inertia. The inescapable question that now presents itself is whether this is a sign of recovery or no more than a last desperate writhing as the all-embracing event horizon approaches. Either way, the personal consequences are impossible to overrate.

I take the optimistic view that to have written anything at all represents a worthwhile achievement and one that will form the foundation on which more substantial work can be based. Even as I write, my typing speed picks up somewhat – to the extent that ideas, words and phrases begin to back up somewhere between brain and fingers. There is still hope.

To have an expressive nature is at once a great and privileged blessing but yet a foulest of curses. The ecstasy that accompanies the creative act exists in a fine balance with its uncompromising nature – more addictive than any opiate. One is forever compelled to create anew to provide the necessary fix. Fail to do so and one must confront the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal.

All this makes the creative process sound utterly awful and it isn’t – at its best it is a truly transcendent experience, a spectacular internal high so high that others less fortunate can only imagine how it feels. And yes, now there’s a little buzz beginning – feels like a couple of drinks worth – and maybe the monkey is climbing back in its rightful place, ready to be carried around on a new set of adventures.

Sometimes addiction can be a good thing, you know.