“Unbeingdead isn’t beingalive.”
― ee cummings, “POEM(or”
I haven’t been doing a lot of musing 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, 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 thought 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
I went through that last summer….and this too shall pass.
Thanks for stopping by. Yes, it often comes and goes for me too. Hopefully you’ve also gotten back into your own flow!
It’s good to see you in my inbox again 🙂
Hi Dan, Thanks! It’s good to be back!