When my world imploded on a personal level last September, I found myself incapable of writing about it. I had no words, just an ache that kept me awake at night and threatened to reduce me into a sobbing mess during the day. It took all my strength and energy not to think about that ache so that I could function like a normal human being.
I embraced silence not because I wanted to be silent but because I had no choice in the matter. I wanted and needed to write about my anger and grief, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t write anything coherent about it. I couldn’t make what had happened make sense, and that, perhaps, was one of the harshest blows. Writing is how I make sense of things. Writing gives me a space in which I can think and reflect. Without that space, I become unmoored.
Since I couldn’t write about what was happening and how I was feeling, I wrote about other things. I fulfilled my writing duties for clients. I wrote for my blog and felt as though I was writing the crappiest posts I had ever written. I even wrote a post about how crappy my posts were. I was, in a way, trying to talk about my sadness in an indirect manner.
It’s only now, almost a year later, that I find myself able to contemplate those events, to begin to understand why I reacted the way I did. The reason I can examine and analyze? I’m starting to write about those things. I don’t often write about them on my blog, but they are an underlying theme with some of my latest poems.
I think I may be discovering the truth about writers and dark times or, at the very least, the truth about me and dark times. The truth is that I don’t have to rush to speak about or during those dark times. I don’t have to write about them as they’re happening. I can let them happen. I can be silent in the face of them even as I continue to hone my craft by writing about other things. I can trust that the words that do need to be written eventually will come, and both the page and I will be ready for them.
How do you keep writing during the dark times?