Language that makes sense
“But what I write and how I write is done in order to save my own life. And I mean that literally. For me, literature is a way of knowing that I am not hallucinating, that whatever I feel/know is. It is an affirmation that sensuality is intelligence, that sensual language is language that makes sense.”
- Barbara Christian, The Race for Theory
It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?
Caught and dragged in an unending oscillation between the desperate need to stem the deluge of information / think pieces / highlights / art responses / calls to actions / reels (all the goddamn reels, phew) / and the earnest compulsion to bear responsible witness and know. After all, this is my life; this is my time; this is my world. What else could I do?
But then, how should I make my life? How then, should I live? The older I get, the more uncertain I become about this question and curious at my ability to answer. Will I be able to? Will I reach the end un/knowingly and grit my teeth in anger, open my palms in resignation or sniff with a dry smile?
You know the feeling of being absolutely certain and completely in doubt at the same time? The particular one that sneaks up on your joy, that reveals its naked self to you in what was a restful dream. that arrests your breath when you are in mid-laugh.
It turns out this is really a fear of impending loss. Since I have had the privilege of knowing, for sure, the value and weight of the thing in question, I become unsettled at who I am in relationship to it, and who I might be without it.
Quite often, this makes me very angry.
It is true that I spend much of my time joyous and frustrated.
How can I have so much to say and yet be so, so speechless?
It must be over-assuming, I guess, to ask to be listened to over and over. But this is a compulsive assumption and I must ask or I might disappear.
Then, is it also reckless of me to demand the rights to silence?
Isn’t it such a simple thing I want?
Listen when I want to speak. Don’t make me when I don’t want to.
The more I live, the more I consider this a freedom.
Irresponsible, yes. But oh, how deliciously free. And oh, so incredibly lonely.
I am in a season of grappling with the need/want to speak.
See, here is a series of existing blueprints you could/should/would do well to follow (there are so many).
Here is the rubric for your engagement and the terms of your participation.
Here is the structure for a buildup of value and a way for your words to gain the weight they need to command respect; wield authority; demonstrate discipline.
This will matter. Even if you don’t see it now, the blueprint promises something will come, that will stand, that might last.
So open your mouth. Speak. May tongues of flame rain down.
The questions I have do not spring from self-doubt (I have no self-doubt). I don’t hold much anxiety toward the not-knowing. I am patient for the possibility of learning something I did not know before. Or the recognition of something that I cannot know.
I am just restless with the questions ever re/forming somewhere in my throat.
How do I pay attention?
How do I pay attention so as to move toward life?
How do I move to life and accept that I am also then, moving toward death?
What is scarier than death? (I have some answers for this now that I keep under my skin, close to my fists).
How do my words pay attention?
How do they demand attention?
Why must I demand attention?
Do I really (really) have anything to say?
If I stop to think about this, all I meant to write today was
I need new tools to get to answers I have been in search of, since very long ago.