National No Posting Month: – this event seems to be taking place in my sitting room this month. Well, OK, it’s only been 6 days – however, I feel the need to break my silence before it becomes permanent. Silence is a retreat; a dangerous state for me.
If you stop doing anything for long enough, you stop wanting to do it. I have used this fact to my advantage – in giving up smoking, and other vices – however the state of letting-go that this requires is, once learned, difficult to unlearn.
Once you stop watching the soaps, for example – Eastenders, Coronation Street – it is hard to start watching them again. All of those dramas, the stories of those intertwined lives, so absorbing as they play out almost in real time before your eyes, lose their appeal as soon as you unplug the TV for any length of time. Work dramas – will the funding be renewed for this project, will the report be written on time, will phones ring unanswered if I am not there??? – fade into insignificance over the course of any holiday lasting more than 2 weeks. Spend long enough waking up on a beach, falling asleep watching the sun set on the horizon, and you no longer care about going home, you no longer care about your job – you no longer care about having money to buy new shoes. Life goes on somewhere else, becomes something you idly watch, as a child would watch ants scurrying around an anthill.
I may be describing transcendence, or I may be describing depression, or I may simply be a deadbeat at heart – all I know is that letting go is a risky thing for me to do. Words are my currency – they tether me to the world, to the everyday, to the people around me – words were the last thing I gave up, before I became a beach bum, bleached of hair and weathered of face, stepping off a plane with my head full of sky and my big toes poking through the tops of my worn-out espadrilles, my face terrifying commuters as they clung to the everyday. Without words, there was nothing in my eyes but the rushing of waves; the sea shushing through my skull, like wind whistling through an empty shell. Without words, I was nothing but an observer.
Silence is the state of the newborn baby, mouth uselessly copying the shapes made by adults as they emit their meaningless noises. Silence is helplessness, watchfulness, separateness.
Through words, the newborn makes their entry into the world, becomes an actor in the myriad of tiny dramas that play out around them. Through words, I made my way back from the beach, and continue to hold onto life. The soaps, my job, my blog – they’re not meaningful in themselves, but they are part of the fabric of the life that I have chosen, and so I don’t let go.
I let the words flow.
Written in response to Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence