About Not Writing

This has been a strange season for me, and I’m sure I’m not alone. One of the outcomes of that strangeness has been a lack of writing, in some ways, perhaps a lack of creativity all-round though I have been involved in many things and even created many things.

I don’t suppose that there is one single reason for this strangeness apart, that is, the peculiarity of the time in which we find ourselves and my own part in this global story.

My head is a swirl of things, some of them are simply thoughts, others feel like they are lurking just out of grasp waiting to reveal themselves when it is least appropriate. This isn’t a wholly new experience for me and in previous seasons I’ve used writing as part of the processing of those thoughts, but this season has been different, I haven’t felt like writing.

It may seem strange to be writing about an inability to write, and peculiar is what it is, but what you aren’t seeing is the effort that it’s taking me to write these simple words. It feels a bit like walking up a long loose sandy dune with each step requiring even more effort for little gain. Even now I’m not sure about what I’m writing and many of these word have been replaced, recreated, only to be superseded by something else.

I’m not even sure why it bothers me that I haven’t written in a while, I’m under contract, or do this as a means of making a living, it’s just something that I’ve done for a long time and it has become part of me. Many people who started blogging when I did gave up years ago, perhaps they’ve found something more interesting to do. Something draws me back to writing these words in this little, seldom visited corner of the Internet, to expressing a thought or an idea, to reason and to ponder.

There have been many things that I could have written about, let’s face it, the world has been a crazy place for many weeks now and there have certainly been things that I felt deeply about and could have commented on. I am reticent to add my voice to a world full of far more eloquent and more insightful voices than my own. Sometimes the reticence descends into comparison and the dangers that lurk there for each of us.

I’ve started writing a couple of times, but nothing would form and the words would run away and hide inside unreachable corners of my head. There they hide with thoughts that don’t want to be seen. Sometimes I search back for those ideas but get distracted by other, more pressing, more disturbing scenes ahead of me.

It’s a bit like I’ve been living on one side of Kierkegaard’s axiom:

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Søren Kierkegaard

Perhaps there’s been so much forwards to look at that I’ve not wanted to look backwards and understand.

One thought on “About Not Writing”

  1. Hi Graham

    Thanks for this missive.

    It’s difficult to know what, in this age of possibility, it is appropriate to write about on the Internet. It is sometimes hard to choose the right channels. I started a blog a couple of years ago which began as a positive way of relieving stress and just jotting down whatever was on my mind, however trivial. Unfortunately it soon became a repository for all my bad feelings about my “voices” and turned into an angry rant that I was then embarrassed about. So I had to stop. Facebook is where I put most of my broadcastable thoughts, but I am never sure whether my posts reach the people I would like them to reach, and again it is a very strange world where anything goes. All the world’s news and information jumbled up together. I find that scrolling through FB every day as I do, “My head is a swirl of things, some of them are simply thoughts, others feel like they are lurking just out of grasp waiting to reveal themselves when it is least appropriate”. It is a trigger for mental activity but often there is nothing you actually want or need to engage with and it leaves you feeling drained. Regarding lockdown, it has been a joy to me to have Rachel at home all the time. But I have become even more lazy than I was before. I don’t worry too much about the pandemic or the chances of catching disease, but it is again draining to have bad news after bad news in the press. The good thing is that we have been talking to each other more, caring and loving, and doing things like cooking together under less pressure than term time. Rachel has been able to exercise every day, whereas I have been reluctant to leave the house as usual. Don’t worry about giving writing a break though. It is hard for anyone to be consistently creative every day or week. And to be honest, not many people want to hear from the same person on a very regular basis. Quality over quantity is the rule! I enjoyed being creative with the guitar in the first few months of lockdown, but then I found that I had reached a point where I wasn’t enjoying it as much, and I was getting disappointed with the number of likes on my posts, so I put the guitars away for a while. Maybe it is time to pick up the camera for you and me both instead of the guitar or typewriter. I have missed seeing my family over lockdown most. Especially as my dad, my aunt and my gran are in poor health and I feel the need to help look after them. But at least we have had Josh and Lewis to visit a few times which has been nice. Keep writing though, it is always good to hear from you. And as a therapeutic exercise it can be very helpful. Oolong tea, that’s the stuff! Rich T

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