The following says nothing at all, and so too does this.
Writing a wrong
September 20 2012, Published in the Silhouette
It’s Saturday night again. Sun-kissed blonde hair sprinkles in front of your face as you sip the cold coffee on your desk. Your eyes hurt but you cannot rub them. Not now. Not yet. You need to keep going. You have to stop doodling. Click. Clack. Click. Clack. Repeat. Just a few more hours – you promised. To whom? Yourself, and to the ceiling.
But you’re caught. It isn’t a trance; it is a dance, and you’re swinging and swaying and swishing your words as they trip the tip of your tongue. So you continue to write as you wiggle around in your seat, and instead of enjoying the weekend or talking to friends that certainly deserve the attention, you find yourself sitting there staring at a blank paper while your fingers attempt to waltz to the sound of bones cracking in a tune of discomfort.
It is disease. Your back aches and bends; your stomach grumbles and gurgles.
It is salvation. You’re smiling and it twists around your lips like barbed wire spread with reckless abandon across a field of tulips.
It is habit. Last week saw you in the same position with eyes bloodshot, praying to a flickering icon for inspiration.
But there is no inspiration. There never was. There is, and there only will be, blood. Because when you distill it down to it’s very core – these words, these sentences, the very syntax – you find a life, and with it, a heart. A pulse. Lungs. Arteries and veins. Inhales and exhales. All and all, you find a person – a pitiful obsessive person who stresses over whether or not to insert a comma here, or here, but not here.
It is your life. It is mine. And in order to live – perhaps in vain, perhaps not – I, like you, sit and write because although it’s true that I haven’t lived a very long life and although grey hairs do not speckle my forehead, writing is how I breathe onto paper and how I give life to these pages. It is how I make up for the years I haven’t lived yet.
Now certainly, I cannot say that what I write is good. To be honest, I wouldn’t even call what I do writing. Rather, I think of it as an elaborate yet recognizable typing procedure. Nor can I delusion myself in thinking that this whole capricious endeavor will be worth it – whether that be your time or mine. I write like lightning and most of the time, the flash comes before the bang.
All I can do is give a little bit of myself here and a little bit over there. It is a small portion, I’ll admit. Some may even consider it inconsequential. But it is all I can give because it is all I am, all I’ll ever be. Words. My name. My date of birth. And eventually, when the dash has finally been drawn, my death. Now, on this Saturday, I’m giving you my moments in between. That little dash. That little inch that is entirely mine. That piece of me captured into words, however little they may be worth.
Some may say that it is the ability to transcend death that compels me and all writers alike to pick up the pen. Certainly every human – all the beggers and kings, all the saints and sinners, all the fathers and mothers, all the sisters and brothers – will turn cold, keel over, and breathe no more; it’s only a matter of time. So in order to delay death, we try to chime into the chorus of life. That cliché stands proof to that fact. For the only evidence of a writer is writing itself.
Who knows – this Saturday night might be no different and I might be trying to chalk my name among the list of literary paragons. But I don’t think so. At the time of my death, I will be a white-hair old man, with a short neck, a barrel chest, lanky arms, and a faded tattoo from one of the countless mistakes I have made. My legs will be thin and veined; my right knee, a testament to a life of mediocre work for mediocre pay, will be ruined by arthritis. My daily attire will suggest the prestige of a working man, and a working man I’ll be. Words that I had written down so long ago will have collected into a bin somewhere, rotting off the pages that once held them. And when I die, no one will remember Kacper Niburski, but at least, no one will forget.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll try to do my best against the gravity of the Universe. We all do. Even now, I try to write honestly. Believe it. Once a friend told me that if I can write one truth, it’ll all be worth it.
But this seems a near impossibility, at least for me. After mulling over dictionaries and hunting for the right words with the precision of a drunken archer, I have only learned that writing is a lie. All of it is. Because no matter what you imagine, no matter what you muster, nothing looks as good as it did in your head, this included.
Besides, words are finite. The ideas that were once boundless, that sprawled into the infinite regions of my mind, shrink when penned. A definition is parasitically latched onto them. They become susceptible to judgment and prejudice. They are no longer understood the way you intended them to be, and all of a sudden, people look at you funny when you tell them you cried when you wrote a piece. They look at you even funnier when you are crying in explanation.
Why continue then? Why slave away at something with so many countless of names forgotten and so many more tomes collecting dust? Why sit here, flex my fingers and bat away against the flood of words?
In the end, why should anyone write?
I don’t exactly have an answer, or at least, not one that satisfies everyone. Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe our language, rich as it may be, lacks it. And maybe if there was one, no one would want to use the words to pen it down anyways.
I do have one I like, however. It’s short and simple and like all short, simple things, it was the hardest to write. I sat here for two hours coming up with it.
I write and I wait and I sit here with aching fingers and worn wrists because after it all, I am left with this page and you are left with an impression and I am still here, still writing, hoping that I can leave another some day, and more importantly, hoping that you want me to.