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Is this the biggest fear of every writer or is it just my fear? Every day I carry this black hole in me—that I won’t be able to write again!

As I eat my breakfast, as I read, today for example, The Grace of Silence by Michele Norris, as I teach, as I shop for eggs and milk, as I iron my sheets, as I spend intimate moments with my husband, the black hole lurks at me and says: there is nothing, there is nothing in here.

Every time when it happens I know that the black hole is right, and I know that the black hole is wrong.

There is nothing in there and there is everything in there at the same time. There is nothing when I am away, and there is everything when I am back.

Being back means here, sitting at my desk, sitting on my bed, sitting on the deck, sitting on the couch, sitting at the dining room table, sitting in Starbucks, sitting in the Nordstrom Cafe in Columbia Mall, sitting at Barnes and Noble on Route 103, sitting in my office at College Park. Sitting. Sitting and waiting to slow down, to become quiet, to forget, to remember, to become a vessel for the voices of my past. Then the black hole closes, disappears, goes away—for that moment.

Have you ever, once in your life, sat down and wrote nothing. I mean nothing, Danuta? Even once? The answer is, No. Not even once, I answer myself. Okay, so what’s the problem? The problem is in thinking about writing. When I think about writing, it seems impossible. When I write, I just write.

So, don’t think about writing. Duh, I want to say to myself. It’s not that simple, I say back, I have to think about it. I have to think about the subject between writing. So, think about the subject, but don’t think about writing. Duh, I want to say to myself. You see, I say back, it’s not that simple. The problem actually lies in “too much.”

Too many memories, too many books, too many articles, too much history, too many people, too many feelings, too much pain, too much joy. The swelling of my heart and constant migraines. How can one even live like this? I ask. I don’t know, I answer, but you do, Danuta, don’t you?

How many words today? Seven hundred and seventeen. Not nearly enough, I say. Well, not much, I answer, but it’s something. It’s not nothing, right? Perhaps, I say. How good is it? I don’t know. At this moment I feel I moved the story forward. The passage is not bad. You see?  Not bad is good, I say. Well, I am not sure, I answer. You don’t have to be sure, I say. Show up for sitting and write. For now, I say.

Photograph via Flickr by Alice Carrier

6 Responses to “Conversations with Oneself”

  1. […] Correctness in context: Conversations with Oneself […]

  2. […] Correctness in context: Conversations with Oneself […]

  3. Vanessa says:

    writing does bring a lot of anxiety:( keep going though~~wherever you’re going, just keep going and you’d get “somewhere,” that’s what I tell myself

  4. yes, like Vanessa says, just keep going. writing is an incremental art. one word follows another. put the first one down on a sheet of paper and then another. one word at a time. this is what shakespeare learned, what conrad learned. one thin word after another. forming a line into infinity.

  5. Danuta Hinc says:

    Thank you, John, for reminding me that even when the words are “thin,” it still counts towards infinity.