On the Need for Withdrawal


Yes, I know. I disappeared again. And this time, for no defensible reason. The Easter holidays meant that even I managed to sneak a break (a short one, but a break nonetheless). So I can’t claim lack of time, energy or even subject matter. Lots of things happened. Lots of things worth thinking about. Lots of things worth writing about.

Except. Except—

Writers know this. Every so often, the need to withdraw strikes urgently. There are things germinating and growing underneath the surface—in the damp, fertile darkness of the semi-conscious. To expose them prematurely to the harsh light of explication would mean risking an entire harvest of thought.

Even now, I can feel it: something germinating, growing, tendrils curling through cool, rich soil. Over the last two years, I’ve talked at length about the upheavals of my life; about the absence of the soothing, stabilizing routines that characterized the years of my twenties. Without my realizing it, without my intending it, there were things happening underground; call it an existential “taking root” if you will—a quiet, imperceptible consolidation of strength. While I railed and ranted and resisted aboveground, this entrenchment into some indefinable solidity came into its own. It’s not rooted in any certainty—the last two years have robbed me of that—it’s likely just a survivor’s joie de vivre: the calm and cheerful confidence that grows from enduring one crisis after another.

It was only in the last two weeks that it finally came to my attention (very likely triggered by a massive program of self-study that furnished the necessary vocabulary for the inchoate to erupt into articulation). The phrase self-study is massively appropriate: I was both studying by myself and also studying myself. And just like that, more than a week went by.

I might disappear again. Who knows. But somehow, this silence feels right. It’s a pregnant silence, which is almost the best kind.

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8 thoughts on “On the Need for Withdrawal

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