“Unbeingdead isn’t beingalive.”
― ee cummings, “POEM(or”
I haven’t been doing a lot of pondering lately, which is probably a reflection of my (non-existent) creative climate. We all have our cliché highs and lows, and I can honestly say after an all-time staggering low, my writing life has all but disappeared.
Normally when I find myself among the soil in those trenches, digging up worms, kicking rocks, trying to find a ladder, or a vine, or a hand, recreating wings, I have turned to words, not away from them. I have always written myself into life again, sustained my sanity, uncovered answers. I have whined and rejoiced and pondered my way into some form of better, hopefully more coherent me. Always. With words.
And then I quit. Suddenly those words, which had always sustained me, gave me no pleasure or respite or even pain. In a lot of ways, they had betrayed me, or I them. I had squandered them on an unbeing. I felt as if I had been erased. Or as if in writing those words to define this other person, to write them into beingalive, I had started unwriting myself. I was lost. Something was missing. A word or a letter or a sound. Some voice in my head had just fallen silent. So I did what I imagine some proud, annoyed writers do. I quit.
I quit writing on The Sarcastic Muse, I quit writing my own work, I quit writing myself.
I found other outlets, albeit not creative, to distract myself. I’d hear echoes sometimes, characters whispering. Sometimes I’d pause long enough to listen, catch a remnant of a conversation, distantly waiting, but I’d catch myself. Turn away. Resist.
I don’t have a solid reason or an excuse or even an understanding as to why I have avoided words. All I know is that they have sat in waiting, like a reflection on a dark pool. My ghosts. Writers can’t stop writing. We die. Or something in us does.
ee cummings wrote that “unbeingdead isn’t beingalive” and I find it linguistically interesting that he compounds two synonymous words in order to form an antithetical meaning that clearly forms yet another parallel antithesis: unbeing [the act of not being] + dead [not being] == [the act of not being not being] =/= being [the act of being] + alive [being] == [the act of being being].
In the act of not writing, was I unbeing dead rather than being alive? And in writing this now, writing a bit of myself for the first time in months, am I beingalive and burying a little more of the unbeingdead back into history? Is this the notion of rebirth?
I have started this A-Z challenge with Robyn. I am writing myself into Alive, a tiny stumble into the beginning, a swim-upstream kind of challenge, but I am relieved, almost, to feel beingalive: to feel Alive like a small particle in the river, to drift, to rush, to maybe hit a wordwall waterfall. Or to drown in that smooth river way.
But to be