I have been in silence for a long time. Half my lifetime, almost, since I last wrote a word that puts my soul onto paper for others to see. There have been many kinds of silence that have come between me and what I wanted to say.
The silence that fell when I gave up writing the novels I wrote as a child. I thought that I just didn’t know enough about the world. And it’s true that I didn’t know much about the world at the time. But who ever said that writing had to be about the answers? I’m older now, but I have still far more questions than answers. Still, those are the questions of my life. Why should I wait until I have answered them before breaking the silence?
Another silence, then…. the silence of sitting on a hillside meditating. In silence for almost three months. Trying to escape from suffering. Trying to reach a reconciliation with the voices in my head that kept criticising. Trying to… it’s hard to remember all the things I was trying to do. But it was wrong for me, I know that now. I was trying to force myself into a mould that wasn’t mine. Hurting myself. Walking the forest tracks in a search that went nowhere. Until the silence of being alone was fraught with inner voices that were all the more powerful for being silent.
I came out of that meditation retreat into another form of silence. The silence of not really engaging with the world, of keeping my emotions hidden behind a façade of sociability, because if I couldn’t bear them how could I expect the world to cope? A silence of loneliness.
The silence that hangs heaviest on me now is the silence that fell between me and the lover I thought was my soulmate. The silence that he imposed on us, so suddenly that I had no time to realise how much it would hurt me. The silence that rejected all the words of love that I was burning to say, that left me with questions battering themselves against my closed lips. The silence of betrayed hopes and broken dreams.
And in that grief I turned to my singing, that other way of expressing myself that has been part of me for so long. But I could not sing, because my voice was strangled in my dry and aching throat. How could I sing of love and hope when my hopes had been dashed so cruelly? How could I sing at all, when all my voice wanted to do was cry? But then, how could I bear not being able to sing?
So now, I put pen to paper. Fifteen minutes to write about whatever I like. To write, and write, but not to stop.
And I am surprised. I never knew that writing could be so powerful and yet so easy. Words pour out of me like they have been waiting more than half a lifetime to be spoken, and heard. Words that are not inhibited by my tears. Words of healing, and hope, and an end to silence.
Is this fifteen minutes already? I have so much more to say…
This is based on a writing practice from the excellent site red ravine, which inspired me not only to start writing again, but to start blogging – I owe both its authors sincere thanks!
(Photo – Fountain pen macro by Wesdigital at Flickr)