A few days ago, Lucas and I were talking about his unabashed, and, dare I say, untempered love of writing. I remember that feeling.
But it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way. Currently, writing, like making art and teaching and staying healthy and being good, feels like a chore. Yet, I don’t think that that is a bad thing at all. Before, my words spilled out onto the page. Now, I write very slowly1 because I edit as I go along2 and I constantly check the clarity and validity of my statements. Perhaps I am now easily distracted, and maybe that accounts for the change in pace. Maybe writing on the computer rather than on paper makes it easier for me to see errors and bad form and faulty logic. Either way, at the end of our chat, I quoted3 Romeo and Juliet‘s Friar Laurence:
These violent delights4 have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite:
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.
Like playing with text and reworking images, writing is a reflective process where I work out my ideas. And, lately, I’ve been noticing how my ideas have become actions in the world. It’s very subtle, much more nuanced than I imagined it would be – and I never expect instant or explicit change.
I want and go after different things now. I stand up and advocate for myself and those around me now. I check myself faster and with more humility than I did before. I am a better listener. I’m slower to come to conclusions. I fail – often – , but I’ve learned to live through my failures. Huh. If only these things made me a better person. Alas, they do not; they just make me a more refined version of myself.
Yesterday I read somewhere that, if you write long enough, eventually you end up writing about politics. This is true of me. At this moment, in particular, my every key stroke is mobilized to address the coming storm. It is coming.
Two mornings after the election, I went for a swim in the ocean. The waves were hard, insistent, the water cold and crisp and dark blue. I let the waves pound me. I waited and ducked and dived. I found no relief. The waves just came.
I shouldn’t swim alone, I know, especially on an empty beach.