The Gift of a Question

No hurry …

ganeshaAfter months of neglect of the page and the pen, an unusually long hiatus, a writer-friend said to me, “You must find the time to write. You must write!”

I ponder her words: Writing is so much a part of the writer’s soul that when we don’t write we shallow out, we disconnect from what’s real, we lose the thread. We neglect the balance point between our two natures, a betrayal. The worst of our many selves takes over, and we begin to believe that’s who we are.

Danté placed the betrayer at the lowest circle of hell. Ganesha sacrificed a tusk — the pen! — so that the writer could write.

Some essays pop out of the frontal lobe–opinion easily expressed. That’s product. Others come slowly–a new search prompted by fresh insight, initiated by a question that nags. The early draft takes on levels and sub-text; it gathers both detritus and essential matter; it changes direction; theme appears and disappears; maps are drawn, destroyed, redrawn, followed, abandoned. This is new territory. (And why would one want to revisit the same familiar places anyway?)

Essential to breaking new ground on paper is the pondering. Doubt may hijack a week, a month, but what drives us forward is the question and the creative impulse that cares for it. All this takes time. No hurry.