On the Point of Rambling


(SOUTH KOREA, Seoul) The tracks of Yongsan Station. (Photo taken by the author.)

Every writer deals with this: the well running dry. The best writers can work with sludge, but it’s exhausting work. It’s far easier to find new springs.

Which is why writers are inveterate experience seekers: connoisseurs of phenomena. For a long time, I used to correlate my ability to write with my freedom to try new things.

But novelty’s long closed itself off to me as a source of inspiration: there are too many ties that bind. Newness manifests itself in my days as the uncertainty of interruption. Everything else runs along the railroad tracks of repetition and routine.

So to find something “new” to write these days, I’ve turned to reverie and recollectionrifling through the bric-a-brac of memory and daydreams to conjure something out of nothing. It seems a rather odd and unproductive pastime: writing for the sake of writing; writing, perhaps, without the preliminary intention of actually conveying something.

Writing, in other words, for the sheer joy of creatingfor the never-ending pleasure of discovering that the rambling is not mere meandering.

And the best surprise of all is finding (after all the random rambling and mercurial meandering) that others have tread these woodpaths too. And then the writing becomes a gathering; the wandering becomes a journeying.

But just for a moment.

It’s all that a wayward writer needs.

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