On the Exigencies of Writing


The last few days, I’ve been frequenting my friend J.’s blog far more frequently than usual.

I’ve mentioned J. more than a few times on Peripateia before, and have always felt that discomfiting mix of understanding and frustration that arises everytime I conceal her identity or suppress sharing snippets of her blog.

The understanding comes from getting exactly why she hides her identity (it arises from the same anxieties that has me troll the Internet at least once a month to efface, wherever possible, cybernetic traces that have crossed the diaphanous border between my private and public spheres). The frustration comes from not being able to share her always beautiful prose (intoxicating to me not only because it is damn good writing, stylistically and substantially, but because I happen to know its creator; and who doesn’t enjoy being affiliated with genius?).

In any case, I’ve been reading her blog more intensively than usualscrolling to very old entries I’d never read before simply because I can only click “older entries” so often in a given hour. (This time, to save myself the effort of repeating the same old clicks, I’ve hit upon the why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-earlier-solution of just leaving my browser open whenever I let my laptop hibernate.)

A lot of this blog-mining has to do with a more intense need for inspiration, arising from a far greater volume of daily literary output. Writing is a solitary task, but cultivating the store of creativity upon which it ultimately depends rarely happens in unadulterated solitude.  Rilke makes a valid point when he urges befriending loneliness, for aloneness is essential in allowing one’s inner voice to speak. But creativity requires communion: with God, with nature, with history, with other minds. And the more creativity one’s life demands, the more urgent becomes the need for contact, for connection, for that osmosis of worlds that lies at the very heart of communication.

And that’s why, aside from erecting a temporary shelter on my friend J.’s blog site, I’ve been writing a lot more letters lately than usual. Far from enclosing me within, writing is drawing me out.

And it’s an eminently good thing.

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