(A re-post from September 2011)
I’ve lamented these last several months my lack of coming up with anything to write. And when I do commit to words, my beloveds read wooden and trite, and superficial. Worse yet, I couldn’t figure out the problem, in fact, I obsessed over it, climbed up and down my brain, and continually came up empty-handed. I searched for a thing to say, some topic, some wisdom, some something, until I told a friend two weeks ago that it seems all this social media-izing is scooping me out instead of filling me up. I don’t need to tell you that inspiration is a tricky thing. You must tuck letters, songs, art, visions, inside, not keep giving them out. Twitter, Facebook, blogging, all that…it’s a lot of living outside yourself and that externality not only wears you thin, it empties you. And I’ve been emptied.
I used to love to read. How it sustained and inspired me. I would go through several books a week and relish the plot, the story, the taking me away but stocking my mind coffers all at the same time. Then I began to read words online. Not Kindle and its ilk, oh no, I can’t go there yet. Despite my imposed reading fast, I still crave the smell of pages, the must, and dust, and blood, and sweat, and soul juice. But now, I consume stories from blogs, and tweets, broadcasts, status updates, instant messages, direct messages, emails, and on and on and on. I began to learn to talk and think in teensy snippets, compress my words into palatable nuggets, put my brain on warp speed. The world can wait, the world can wait. Those not speaking on online time? They seemed slow and laborious.
And so, books did too. So many words! So many hours required! So much inside-myself time at that. I need to be outside with you all, or you’ll forget me. Plus, how does one work her way through pages and pages and pages? My brain is a hamster wheel, a carousel, a microwave oven. I don’t have all minute. Because see, the online world can’t wait, and soon you trick yourself into thinking you must speed the ferris wheel in your head to keep up; you’re only as good as your last online communique. So you pull words out of yourself. Sometimes they’re plucked from your soul, but most often not, and you continue to go, and go, and go. Collapsing in a desert of words that’ve lost their meaning. Pretty soon, you see there are more like you, and you’re engaging in one-dimensional conversations just to see your name pop up in a timeline. There are not enough moments, not enough moments.
It’s the books and stories and 3D conversations I miss the most.
And slow. And laborious.
So what I did is forget my laptop this past weekend. I kept it far away from me, and left my online engagement levels at an all-time low. I made enough moments. I looked at people when they talked. I didn’t want a RT from them either, and thankfully, they wouldn’t know one if it bit them in the ass. My fingers stayed in my lap for the most part, and my carousel brain slowed to a crawl. I took to a book, and the words were so delicious. God, I love words. And there I had it shining in front of my stopped-up brain: I love words. With meaning. With meat. I want them to evoke and pull and move and hurt and blind and sing and bleed and waft and blow through my heart like a tempest.
I’ve been spending too much time giving out meaningless words just to give them.
I’ve been going too fast.
To somewhere completely off the map.
I see words in those clouds. I tweeted this pic. Contradiction much?
All these words without intention or storytelling is breaking my soul a little. Or quite a lot. I’ve moved farther and farther away from who I am and what I am because I think I should be operating online in a certain “see me, I see you!” capacity, that’s quite frankly, blown my bliss. I’ve been angry with you, too. You say you’re a writer, but you want something — fame? recognition? ego-stoking? — and you use words in a way that says you don’t love them. You are simply using them. And I shouldn’t be so mad at you. You can do what you want, just not on my time.
Because I need to get back. Remember who I am, and why I’m here, and what I love; and if I’m off the map, it’s because I stepped into the brambles on purpose.
For the shoring up.
I refuse to be emptied.
Or filled with meaninglessness.