Wednesday, March 26, 2008

That Safe Comfortable Dance

I should have named this blog Insomnia Ramblings. Or Middle of the Night Musings. As usual, come 1:30 or so, some inner bell clangs and I rise and can't fall back to sleep for hours, sometimes until after the sun is up. Yet the angst which usually accompanies sleeplessness is more or less absent. In its place is a desire to work - to write, to say something - and also an instinct for clarity. Maybe better to say a yearning for clarity.

Tonight I'm thinking: how fast can I get to my twenty (or is it twenty-one) sentences?

Because I woke on a note Robert left, in one of those rare moments when he agreed to do some of the talking. "In all the years I've known you, I've always had the feeling there's something you weren't telling me." Van Franz says somewhere in Puer Aeturnus that puers will often hold some key piece of the puzzle behind their back, keep it off the table, hidden in pocket, during analysis. I don't remember why they do this, according to her.

Writing is a kind of speaking and over the past year I am increasingly unable to do it by skimming - that safe comfortable dance over the surface of what I really need to say at a good clip, never at risk of either authenticity or insight (a terrible word - I mean whatever reward, whatever pleasure, unburdening, release, joy, whatever - that authenticity brings).

Yet saying that - writing that, that way - feels like setting a stage, or worse, actually invoking risk (maybe better to say the possibility of risk?) by walking out on the stage and then . . . what? Writing what? Not this. This can't be it. But then what?

In The Haunted House (of which I read 100 pages yesterday, sprawled in the musty papasan chair), Rebecca Brown writes, "when you say a thing out loud, and to someone, it's different from not saying it, or saying it alone. It means you give it a body. Saying makes a thing between the listener and the speaker. It means it's not a secret any longer."

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