Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Space for a Name

For the kind of writing I like to do, I need to hold my breath. No one automatically sounds like this. No one in the midst of a day, in the midst of the night, in the midst of a life sounds like this.

When I go for a while without writing – and the evidence is clear in something like a blog – I begin my questions. Why not? Why not write? What else is there to occupy me these days?

When I do the kind of writing I like to do, I tend to look up. I tend to look for the surface but from below. And for that immersion I need to do something like hold my breath.

I can't need my breath for a length of time if I am going to go into that immersion. I can't need that breath for laughing. I can't need that breath for gasping with sudden wonder. I can’t need that breath for savoring the strong tea I love. I can't need that breath for singing hymns and carols. I can't need that breath for responding to the kind of attention for which a hunger develops over time in me.

The thing that someone says. The look that someone gives. The touch that someone allows. The time that someone lavishes over things that I, too, love.

I need my breath for those things. I cannot always with calm and deliberation immerse myself, lower myself below the surface, look up at light that is just on the other side of the surface. I sometimes lose the practice of holding my breath and feeling the words, yes, feeling the words arise on their own.

And if the words do not arise on their own, why write? Why hold my breath?

Why not trust, and this is an act of trust, that something is afoot when I do not write, something is happening, something full of light, just above the surface, worthy – in time— of words.

In time I will hold my breath again. The words will arise. The space where a name should go will get a little clearer.