Thursday, 2 March 2017

Writing about writing, a heap of frustration and a return to my roots

You didn't know, hell, even
I didn't really know or understand until this morning
that I have, in effect,
been lying to you all along.

all the wrestling I do as I sit at this keyboard
(freeze-drying, crushing
my very world
so that it fits into blog posts

for ease of digestion
so that my thoughts need barely be tasted
even while hoping to god some part of my work
survives the acid bath of your stomach.)

is not enough any more. It never was.
That 'something' I know, that 'something' that longs for you to know it
can't be said this way,
it's not going to allow itself to be extracted or purified,
brought down to its 'active ingredients'.

it's not how to work with dandelion, 
it's that
there is
such a thing
as dandelion.
it's not what alder does,
it's that
alder is.
and only they can tell you what that means.

As you can tell from that poem (that's been sitting in draft for several days) I've been having some Deep Thoughts & Revelations lately. Among the Revelations:

                                                         The internet has damaged me. 

I could say that in a less loaded way, like 'changed me', but from here it feels like damage. My dreams changed a few years ago; I found myself with a back button, which was handy for getting out of dreams I wasn't enjoying, or reviewing dreams I was intrigued by, but at the same time the dreamscapes flattened out, like I lost a dimension or two. 

If dreams change, that means the brain has changed. I probably 'absorb information' better than I used to, but perhaps at the sacrifice of the desire for actual thinking. Instead of thinking an idea through, I've been finding myself looking it up to see what other thinker/writers have to say on the matter. Not because they necessarily have the answers, but because the internet made me too lazy to think it out for myself.

That is not me.

Or at least not the me I expect myself to be. I didn't come this far to become a passive sponge for the thoughts and experiences of others -

                                          just squeeze me to get your thought of the day! 

The expectations and the norms of what's acceptable on the internet - what's desired by the internet reader - have handicapped my writing. It might seem as though I dash these posts off, top of the head style, but it takes me long hours to write these fucking 2 minute bite sized reads. That's because I have to simmer and stir the contents of my psyche first to get the - let's face it - 'lighter' thoughts to rise to the surface. Those are the ones I can 'use' for a post. And because it is only the surface of things, it all ends up, in effect, as lies.

As every born-writer knows, the muse is vastly more important to the art than the readers (sorry, but it's true). Writing is a private exploration; of the mythic on a personal level, of the personal truth. The relationship with the muse is the relationship with one's self; whether what is written is ever read is actually secondary to why most writers write. The surest way to kill the truth (and to insult the muse) is to write for the reader's comfort, and that's what blog posts are all about, the reader's comfort. 

The medium is the message, said Marshall McLuhan. I finally understand what that means, much to my chagrin.

As I wrestled with all of this in my journal (pen and paper, stream of consciousness style), out came the following. I'm showing it as written, warts and all.

Which is better, to be heard & not understood, seen and not recognized or to remain silent and invisible? What makes me think I have anything to say? (Ah, big discomfort there!) What a mess this is, the disconnect between my creativity and what 'society' will allow .. what I will allow of myself. And what's so stupid is that I am fighting for such an unknown. Oh, wait, I'm fighting FOR the unknown! I'm fighting FOR Mystery! Insisting that there is something else, some thing or some place or some that underpins all this, where words are born

That unknown, that which grows the flowers & grows me, that's what I'm fighting for and that's what is creating me and that's who I am. I am Mystery. That they are not is why I can't express myself. Maybe I'm not really a writer but a poet. 

I could play with that for a while. In fact that sounds delicious. What is more delectable than poetry? That's where the honey is, the mystery, the pauses and silences where words can hang in the air and be shaped by the breath 

shaped by the breath, yes. 

The writing goes wrong for me for several reasons. It's a matter of language, mostly, language is shaped by culture and I am of no particular culture or no known culture .. I'm speaking their language and it constricts me.

Constricts - that's the word I've been looking for. Next thought - boa constrictor, next thought snakes and wasps. Snakes and wasps (and vultures) are among my favourite creatures and the most vilified by most humans. As are cleaning ladies and witches (both of which I have been/am). So I'm right off the bat walking into the room knowing myself to be at best misunderstood at worst in danger of being burned at the stake. Actually, at best I am 'tolerated', which is code for 'we don't like your kind but for now you're behaving yourself & we find you amusing'. I believe that if they looked deeper they'd be horrified by me. But if they looked deeper still, they might ..

.. so my desire, then, is what? To entice ..? no, that's not it. to seduce ..? no. to reach tendrils (yes) towards them for their own tendrils to touch. To open this conduit to others who feel this Mystery the way other writers have opened it for me. To be something of a psychopomp between worlds?

Underpinning this inner battle is that - for a time - I embraced a culture and with it a language, or manner of speaking our common language, that as it turned out, I wasn't suited to. The Christian perspective, let's call it, was one I did sorely need to experience for a while. Having spent most of my adult life with a prejudice against it, and not being the kind of person who wants to carry prejudices around, I am glad that I had the chance to walk that path for a little while. But

                                                of course there's a but

as I said, it didn't suit me. I won't say it is wrong, it's not wrong for them, but it lacked, for me, ways to express certain intangibles that I see in the world.

The feminine nature within the Divine, for example. A certain sense of the juiciness of this, our physical reality, and the - dare I say it - rightness of the lust human beings have for life. I could not, I cannot, accept this world as lesser compared to the 'next'. I cannot embrace the Fall - I can agree with the general fucked-up-ed-ness of human beings, but I don't accept that it is inborn, a curse; I believe it to be taught.

There was a lot I could say in that 'language' of the Christian faith but in the end, that I could not use the word "Goddess" meant I had to venture back off that path, back out into the meadow where I can make my own way. It is She who I serve because I am a woman.

I know, of course, that the Divine is neither male nor female but I also know that in order to conceptualize it, we must use human terms. The dust of the desert gets stuck in my throat when God is restricted to the form of Jehovah. I know He is also Cernunnos of the forest, also Pan of the green hills, also Osiris of the fertile Nile.

And She is Isis, too, and Hecate and Diana.

Faces of the Divine.

                     Of course, the conquering culture always demonizes the gods of the conquered!

I am a pagan in my ways. I adore the moon - not worship, that's a misnomer, pagans delight in nature, we don't worship it. It is possible - actually, it's quite delicious - to be both able to see the faces of the Divine in its many expressions and to understand that it is all One.

You see, I know this world to be in-Spirited, inhabited by beings both seen and unseen, and that the beings we see have far more to them than we give them credit for. That is the world I have experienced all my life, the world I can't talk about in the manner of speaking of either the Christian or the scientist. When a culture has no word for something, there is no place for it in that world; it does not exist. To the scientist, there is no Spirit of the Wind. To the Christian, there is no Goddess.

To dismiss all of this as 'only' the mythology of lesser humans than ourselves is a grave error. Myth is living art, the human expression of how we experience the Mystery.

If you have made it with me through this long, convoluted post, I thank you.

If I have shocked or disappointed you, then .. in some ways my work is done, my aim is to shake us up, shake us out of our comfort zones, both writer and reader. I don't intend to speak anything but my truth as I experience it from now on. My loves, my hates, and my explorations of this in-spirited world will be splashed over these pages alongside snippets of mythology, magic (yes, magic) and more of my usual rants, of course. I'll be adding new links to interesting sites on the sidebar as we go.

Let's hear it for the Mystery - and the Spirit of the Wind! 


  1. Woops = comments now open again - thanks Terri catching the error.

  2. "I cannot embrace the Fall"

    It should not be interpreted literally. I was recommended this text:

    1. I'll have a look at it, thanks Gemma.

      Interpretations of the Fall certainly vary, don't they.