Monday, 28 July 2008

barukh ata adonai

So what else is writing like? It's like a prayer. Not in its every day incremental aspect (I suppose it's no bad thing to pray regularly, but I never heard of anyone training for the afterlife by increasing the number of reps or degree of difficulty. All right, team, we'll warm up with a light Kaddish, then move on to some serious Salve Reginas, and finish with the complete Prayer To Mother Earth. And by the end I want your throats to bleed!) but in the fact that writing is a communion with a greater -- wait for the technical word here -- thing. Whatever you pray to is going to be spiritually larger than you are. When you write you are entering through the doors of the metaphysical department store, and talking to the folks who work there.
It's about listening. Prayer is listening, and writing too. When you talk to God (or whichever of the staff you run into. I generally get someone with God on their name tag) it's no good simply clasping your hands together and wailing loudly that you want a bike, or a pony, or a happier love life. Ask by all means, and then -- just for a moment -- shut up and listen. Stay still, quiet, open. Maybe you will get some direction. Maybe your staff member will point you to the Get A Job aisle of the store. Or the Pay Attention aisle. (Or the pharmacy -- it's usually in the basement.)
I spend a fair amount of time staring at the wall of my office, not because (or not only because) I am stupid or drug-addled, but because if I empty my mind, ideas can come in. And sometimes they are good ideas. (Sometimes they are not so good. Sometimes they are actually criminal. This is not metaphysical direction -- this is you hearing voices and going crazy. At this point switch off your creative brain and invoke the internal editor. Liberate France from the English? you say. Seriously, St Genevieve? I don't think so.)
Prayer is listening to silence. So is writing.
And now (you don't know this but I just spent a minute staring at three pens lying on my desk calendar, waiting for an idea on how to finish this blog entry) it's time for me to get back to my zombies. I expect to finish the draft today, if I pray hard enough.


Anonymous said...

Hope you nailed those zombies today, Richard! Really interesting blog. So many times I've said that listening is key to prayer. I've had "silence is a virtue" days where listening is key - especially walking down busy hallways. Listening to the creative muse too - great juxtaposition. Isn't our life so much clammer & din. There is a place for shhhhhhhhhhhhhh (maybe that's why I've written more in the late night hours of those quiet moments).


Richard Scrimger said...

Actually, I tacked them down lightly three times. Did not like the way they looked, and took up the tacks. Nailing maybe today. No one writes without hope. RS

Anonymous said...