What I can’t write

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

duck watching

duck watching

duck watching

I’ve just finished reading this essay. I can’t even explain what sense of relief it gives me to read something this beautiful in another seemingly endless, demoralising day of job and grant applications, and the piling/chasing up of freelance work, and doing regular work for money. I know nearly everyone can relate to this, so do yourself a favour and go read this wonderful essay by Stephen Wright called, Why I write:

“‘The more I wrote,’ said the French writer Genevieve Jurgensen in her memoir The Disappearance, ‘the more I felt as if I were lying.’ I was thinking of her words as we drove around the incomprehensibly convoluted roads of the villages of the Dandenongs. When I think of all the ways in which I have named my experience, of how much remains outside that naming, of the very processes of language, of how I speak without my own consent, the further I seem to get away from experience even as I build it with my language. We are all so full of unsaid words, our own and that of so many others, words that have their own shape, weight and pile up like leaves on a grave. And yet, even as I become the repository of unspoken words, it is the stammering nature of my experience of others that I am unable to communicate.”

Why these photos to go with these words? I don’t know, they’re just what this essay made me think of. For the past few weeks and months – or, if I’m being really honest, few years, – I’ve felt like a very small duck trying to paddle away in the water unsuccessfully. It’s nice to momentarily feel like all that paddling means something when I read essays like this one. But to be even more honest: I mainly read essays this good to see what I can’t write, what I can’t do, how I can’t communicate, and how interesting other people’s stories are when they do their own particular magic with words.

5 comments:

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said...

Checking out this essay now!

hungryandfrozen said...

Paddle on, small duck! If nothing else, know that people are inspired and moved by your own writing, too. And I've got the essay open in a new tab ready to read when I have the time (might have to force the time to happen, though.)

Sasha said...

Thank you for sharing this essay! It was absolutely lovely. I'm currently struggling to re-discover my voice hidden in the dredges of work-life. I've been gaining a sense of inspiration once more and this essay has contributed greatly to my optimism about my return to writing.

Rambling Tart said...

I've been feeling very "shushed" in my writing the last while. Unable to express things that are so massive in my heart out of concern for how those things will affect those involved. Some days I've felt as though I would burst. Thankfully I am writing them now - not necessarily sharing them - but finally getting them on the page. And it feels glorious. I'm so thankful for pictures like these that speak our hearts when we can't. :-)

Hila said...

Andi: Hope you enjoy it.

Laura: I'm a small duck, who keeps getting smaller. Shall try to keep on paddling :)

Sasha: It is indeed lovely.

Krista: Oh, I often feel like that.