Monday, January 30, 2017

The Wordless Year

When 2016 began, I didn't intend to take a year off writing. But I did. As each month folded in on itself, I simply lost the will to fight my mounting writer's block.

The year 2015 had been difficult, ushering unexpected changes into the path I thought I was meant to be walking. Plans faded. Foundations crumbled. Relationships snapped under the pressure of truth. And as 2016 began, I found my thoughts so confused there seemed to be no words that could make sense out of them.

I've written before about disorientation. I just didn't expect it to come so severely into my life once again from such a surprising direction. But it did, and lacking answers to my mind-numbing questions, I found myself unable to write.

I decided the only answer was a break from the old me. Start a new blog -- that would help me find my voice again, I thought. But it didn't. Start that novel I've been meaning to write -- the change of venue would be just the thing to inspire me. But I still found a million excuses to avoid the blinking cursor, the empty page.

So I let it go.

I'm glad. Sometimes we need to be silent. Sometimes we really don't have anything in our hearts that needs to be said. Sometimes our thoughts really are our own.

And, in my wordlessness, I have accepted some truths.

I've realized I can't break with the self of my past, even literarily. My views have always been evolving, and I hope they never stop. I may or may not agree with everything I've written before, but that doesn't denigrate the virtue of old ideas. Like J.K. Rowling's Pensieve, there is value in setting down thoughts that will some day become only memories.

Also, I've remembered that I don't have to know the answer to ask the question. However obvious this reality might seem, it's easy to fall into the habit of wanting to tie up each piece of writing with a neat little epistemological bow. These days, I find I have many more questions than answers, and I am learning to rest here.

In this budding new year, I have found myself once again with things to say. As always, my words are neither brilliant nor poetic -- but they ask me to write them.

I think I will.

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