Sunday, April 30, 2006
Shaking the Spider Web
It’s the end of the month and I need to write something. But I have a little problem with that. I’ve written just about everything in my life—poetry, ad copy, short stories, expose articles, academic papers, essays, and even homemade greeting cards. Words typically turn on like a water tap for me; what temperature did you want that at? But I’m sitting here in front of a mostly blank monitor and I don’t want to write any of these words.
Words only matter if you think someone else might hear them. Hear them in some way, even if not directly. So you write in a personal journal you never want anyone to see. But you know that the thoughts and revelations that come out alone in your private words will end up spilling out anyway in some slightly altered or disguised version over coffee with a friend, or in your sleep with a lover, or while problem-solving at work. Things connect. Words connect with other words. Words connect with ideas that connect with other ideas. That connect with other people’s words. Other people’s ideas. And on and on in this whole grand, onward-spinning spider web we call life.
So what’s my problem? My problem is a mood or a state of being (take your pick; warm or cool?). My problem is a growing conviction that I’m invisible, isolated, and all my words can do is swirl down drains and end in the sewer. I don’t know where they go from the sewer but I do know that it’s pretty messy down there, that things break apart and don’t make any sense that anyone wants to look at. Including me.
Okay, so maybe it’s just the weather. It’s been very cloudy—cloudy, rainy and gloomy for days, and that’s on top of a too-long winter. I could keep on talking, keep on writing, but what does any of it matter? This actually started with looking at the headlines this morning, headlines that boggled my mind with their insanity, with their assumption that none of us remember how to think, with the sad realization that most of us don’t.
I know that you have to have hope to put energy into speaking, speaking in any form. You have to believe that someone can ultimately hear you and that you have something worth saying, for the simple reason that you are, that you exist, that you exist on a spider web that moves whenever you do.
And yes, well . . . I do know that’s true. Despite my mood. Despite the weather. Despite these words that don’t seem to move outward. Despite the very sad and scary state of the world.
I know that words are very powerful. More powerful, perhaps, than any of us care to admit. Because that implies responsibility.
Hey, you out there! Yes, you! You reading this! Have you ever felt this way? Have you always watched for your own story in the world but never seen it? I want your words. Maybe it’s my story, too. Shake that spider web good; I think it’s dusty or something.