I haven’t wrote in awhile. Forcing myself to sit down now, a half drank cup of coffee and a laptop in front of me, my brain starts to resemble a 4 year old. Distracted, cranky, and unable to just sit and relax and get some things off my chest.
Not that this is new by any means. Writing, while cathartic and insightful and something I take some modicum of pride in, has always been a struggle. It’s a long haul through sludge, dragging thoughts, ideas, and feelings out of the deeper recesses of my mind to be presented on paper or a screen with at least a slight resemblance to how they felt in the ethereal expanses behind my eyelids.
There was a time I tried to explain writers block once. It’s a very strange misnomer for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I am never at a loss for words or ideas. Stories, anecdotes, nuggets of knowledge, long winded analysis, history, jokes, it doesn’t matter…. I can talk for days. Hell, my girlfriend after asking me about my own spiritual/religious beliefs said my answer sounds like a textbook. There were comparisons and anecdotes from numerous religions, as well as an elaboration on some of the basic tenets of existentialism.
Writing is different for me though. Part of the reason I dropped out of grad school was my inability to sit for hours and write. I had finished all my courses, conducted fieldwork, had my proposal accepted, was even working on the first chapter…… and walked away.
I’m sure there is some psychology in how the brain works with spoken vs written language and the inherent differences between them. Something maybe I should be researching and following up on shortly. After all, I did read an article recently explaining a theory that dyslexia actually had evolutionary advantages, and it was only since not just the (relatively recent) advent, but the overwhelming dominance of writing as predominant feature of civilization that dyslexia has become problematic.
Talking is buoyant to me. I feel like I can ride along ideas, surf them, allow the currents to take me places I had never seen before, to elaborate and convey each new crest, each new trough, with clarity and immediacy. It’s no wonder that my thesis was going to be concerned with spoken word poetry, how tone, pitch, cadence, facial expressions, gestures, pauses and the sort greatly accentuate a story.
With writing, on the other hand, I have finally (at the very least) developed a metaphor that I think is accurate for how it makes me feel. The act of writing is putting on a high pressure diving suit. Dropping into the ocean, sinking into depths where light barely penetrates with only a speargun and weak flashlight. The creatures that reside in the deep sea are like nothing else on earth. Go look some up if you have never seen them. They are built to survive in the intense darkness, cold, and pressure that would destroy any living thing from our surface. After finally succeeding to catch one of these incredible, at times frightening creatures, I begin the slow ascent back to the surface. Anyone who knows oceanography however, knows that what those depths would do to us, the light, warmth, and lack of pressure will do to these deep sea creatures. By the time I reach the surface, they have become bloated, disfigured, and hardly recognizable as the beautiful and and wondrous creatures I encountered at those depths.
Sometimes I succeed more than others for sure. And I will never stop suiting up for these lonely dives. It’s just that sometimes, I like to hang out and surf with other human, basking in the much older tradition of oral language.