About five weeks ago, I stopped writing on this blog. My wife – witty and wise woman that she is – commented on the irony of a blog in whose header the phrase “always writing” appears suddenly going dark. She had a point.
At the time I stopped, I explained it in terms of being confused about what I was writing and wanting to be more devoted to actual practice. My interests are in spirituality and Christian mysticism, so needing to bring it into application instead of just yammer on about it makes good sense. Readers were empathetic. I’m lucky that way.
But the truth is that there was – perhaps there always is – another hand. I am a writer in the way that a lot of people think of themselves as gendered. There has never been a time when I am not writing, which is saying something other than writing well. I just do it and I always have. I don’t deserve much credit for it either. It was a fact before I seemed to have the power to make decisions about how to spend my time and what skills to develop and which to leave by the wayside and, for better or worse, it’s remained that way. I’m lucky that I enjoy it so much.
What I maybe should have said five weeks ago was that I had written myself into a corner and didn’t know how to gracefully escape. So – like a child who pulls the blankets over his head rather than answer his father’s question – I just bailed by calling it a spiritual decision. I wasn’t lying really. But I was putting lipstick on what seemed to me a pretty ugly pig. You see, I had made a declaration near the end of 2011 that I would write for a year – one post a day about the ACIM daily lesson and one post about the text. This went great for maybe two months and then it stopped being great. In fact, it got pretty rotten. I was repeating myself. I was exhausted and stressed. And I was not writing other material that was calling to be written.
This was less a spiritual crisis than a writerly crisis (for which the solution is to simply stop, breathe, try something new and come back when you’re refreshed). But you know, sometimes it sounds better when you throw the word spiritual in there . . .
If you flip through this site – I’m not saying you should, just that if you did – you would notice that I have always tended to take breaks from publishing. Those aren’t non-writing periods, they’re writing-in-a-different way periods. It’s part of how I rest the writer muscle. Write a few hundred Course in Miracle posts, then write a bunch of opaque language poems. Writing is play to me, even though it is also work for which I get paid. When the play disappears, the writing suffers.
The thing is – or was perhaps – that in the past six months, this blog has built up a small readership and that meant that people had expectations – or maybe I just projected those expectations (somebody’s been reading his ACIM!). I am not great at handling expectations – mine or anyone else’s. So just disappearing didn’t seem feasible. An explanation was called for.
I know that’s my baggage, not yours.
Anyway – you know where this is going by now – I am going to start writing here again. I don’t mean to get all grandiose about it, even though – as I’ve known for a long time – when you write about this stuff this way, grandiosity is a perennial risk. I just wanted to say aloud that I was being a little self-righteous and gratuitous back in mid-March. In my next life I’m going to be wise and wordy. For now, it seems that I’m going to have to be content with a certain degree of foolishness and a whole lot of words to show it off.
Yet the path is always there and I never seem to quite stumble off it, despite myself. Maybe you are there reaching for me, pulling me back. I don’t know. But since I’m walking anyway, why not mutter about the going?