First post for three years. I’ve tried, occasionally, but too often when I try to think the thoughts that come are not just restless but unable to find a footing, to get past the first couple of paces. The world of sense around me feels crystal sharp when I’m not looking at it, but when I look it’s hazy. When I take steps into it the haze sometimes throws up brambles and sometimes vanishes in my hands. The things of value seem to be a little further over there, crystal clear again where I’m not going. Thoughts of value seem to have been like happiness, thought when not trying to think them, when not articulated.
What silences me? What keeps me from the campaign trail, makes me equivocate, play devil’s advocate to all sides? What puts the tiredness in the corners of my eyes?
Comfort isn’t enough to do it, the salaried life that doesn’t need a voice of its own to get by. Humility isn’t enough, though I am suspicious of the assumed authority that comes with my intellectual white male voice and concerned it also makes its way too stridently into text. Loss of confidence, perhaps, in the overly theoretical and idealistic tenor of my thoughts when the truer things are human and messy. I have thought I was pausing to learn, knowing enough to know that I don’t know and that other people don’t either. Or else holding myself back from perfectionism, not speaking a sentence of French until I knew it was exactly right, not expressing well enough to express at all. Disappointment, that comes into it, that even if I could talk it wouldn’t do what needs to be done and what nothing I have seen do: loose the earth from the fundamental destructive human forces of loving our own comfort more than the other’s life and taking what we want if we can get it; and the things that follow: inequality, the ungovernability of money and desire, the extinguishing of those people and places unable to demonstrate their value to those with power. Maybe disappointment alike with myself, that I am sitting back now and being human and living well enough without fighting and without changing what needs to be changed. Maybe, the ongoing grief that my big brother is stopped now and isn’t growing with me any more. Maybe it was just winter.
So I stopped reading theory, as there was nothing more I could read that I would be able to do anything with, and I started watching Netflix instead.
Well, let’s call all that a season. Partly at least because it may be, and because that way perhaps I can feel it changing. Maybe I’m getting less comfortable, less humble and happier to accept and present my voice as is, grandiose and theoretical though it can be. Maybe I’m even getting content with the idea I might not be as clever as I come across and that I might reveal as much in what I say. Maybe I’m ok with a contribution that doesn’t quite manage do what needs to be done on the global sustainability scale. There are other scales.
Hence: a blogpost. And more to follow, by way of exercise. I plan to do what made me briefly a mathematician, what I did before, to identify and critique structures and patterns that I see. I expect to get angry occasionally. I expect to experiment a bit more with storytelling, and with form and content. I expect to be restless, to skit around. Most of it may miss the mark by a short or long way, retaining too much mist or tangled in brambles or else too strident and clear to be true. But, with the acknowledgement that this is still largely practicing my sentences in my head before letting them loose on life, it is yet the start of speaking again.