I can still write, you know.
I can write like anything. I can squeeze linearity from my looping mind like juice from an orange. I lay down a trail – drop by drop – for people to follow, and usually they do. I write like I swim – without thought or hesitation, and with patience, poise, and persistence.
If I want, I can write without shame, caveat, or apology. I can write in knowing defiance of Grammarly, the imperialist midwit. I write as a spider spins silk or a child drinks milk. I can write to a deadline; I write as a lifeline. I write like I talk (and boy can I talk).
I can write with myself to the side – tone calm, style neutral– to the needs of a client. I can write to align key stakeholders. I can write in good faith, best wishes. I can write emails, papers, impressions, confessions, reports, raps – entire collections.
Or I can write – myself front-centre – can write in my voice. I can scramble over rivers, meander from point; follow loops of colour like there’s always a choice; or focus all attention on a singular point. Do I want to be perfectly understood or just to have fun with language? To which virtue to steer – Simplicity? Expressiveness? Anarchic folly? Before the thought can land, I return the volley.
So I swing between ideals, led by my mood. Clarity is a fabric I drape depending how much light I’d like to let in. It turns out I can take one by the hand to tour rough terrain or bore one to sleep with a cryptic refrain (it’s all done to train). I write like I’ve got nothing to gain. Or else I write like show and tell – I write to explain.
I can write to prove a point, or I can write to be pointless; write to sit morose, or I write to be joyous. I write to right the boat; keep the boy afloat. I can write to be petty, or pretty, or gloat – writing digs a moat. And I write like it’s my job – so I’m lucky it is. And I write like it’s a hobby, which I’m lucky it is. Compulsion propels me to write and keep writing, to keep at igniting material once dry. I write just to try.
Elsewhere, I write to foster distance or to spark connection; or I write to draw attention and to garner affection. I write through rejection, depression, despair. Wherever I’m cast, I write about there. I write like a lantern cuts through fog, even when writing to the robots (like writing to God).
I can write like I can open a faucet, like I can follow a stream, like I can rest upon your face until I see what you mean. And I can write without insisting on perfection. Sometimes I write just to teach myself a lesson. I write to impress, to express, for excess –given so much to say, to write is a reflex.
I think of myself – or at least the thoughts, feelings, impulses, and desires that comprise me – as a bundle of voices. I try not to interrupt when any one speaks. I circulate a mic. They run the gamut from good to bad – they’re angelic and prideful and venal and crude. Or they’re sensible and solemn and raucous and rude. Some are non-verbal, though all have their means. I can only listen to one cluster at a time – such is the constraint of linear attention.
Some of the voices with common interests have formed a union. Collective action for a better Tharin, today! They sing harmonies most mornings, prompting me to stretch or drink water. Others operate in more sinister coalitions, reinforcing habits I can’t shake. Negotiations between all parties are ongoing at the time of writing.
Since I am in constant conversation with myself, I can write forever. And since I write to keep the light burning, I think that I will.