Back to the mines
I feel as though I’m ducking under the mineshaft braces, pick slung over my shoulder, dusty work clothes broken in, ready to go back into the dark.
The bell tolls 6 PM, neighborhood lights – automobiles, auditoriums, condominiums, streetlamps pierce the deep blues and blacks of the night outside my window.
A white page stares back, though not sheets of paper on a leather clad writing desk, nor a curl rising from the classic typewriter, this iteration of the craft is backdroped by a photo from a ridge in Virginia, flanked by a bitcoin price chart, icons litter the desk, a modern-day digital workspace.
A white page stairs back nonetheless. A perfect slate, unbroken stillness.
Of course one can simply throw words at it, like a mud fight, with abandon, insisting “the craft must be done!”
On the other hand, the blank slate, like the clear blue sky, is sacred in a way. I think in my view, to spoil it demands a certain integrity, a certain commitment to give only those words that improve on the silence; a task very few words can accomplish.
Even now is that sentence rests there, I can see the hubris in it, and yet… 20 minutes have elapsed, and the empty expanse is broken.
When I started this endeavor, applying myself to the craft under the encouraging gaze of my friend Charles, it was simply to exercise the skill. Today that purpose remains, and yet what value is the invocation of words, if not to spell some new wealth into the world?
Which begs the question, what have I to say? In the beginning, Charles offered that it should be enough simply to recount the events of a day in the life, if for nothing more than posterity and to practice the discipline of using only those words which were absolutely necessary.
While on the one hand, that is fine enough reason to tarnish a perfectly clean page… I have found I don’t entirely cotton to that, and as often as not my words break step with the pure description of physical events, sites, sounds, smells, and other material sensations.
Instead, a more whimsical tale finds its way to the page, such as today.
Both are suspect to me. In the vast expanse of primordial perfection, the beauty, some would say, of God’s green earth, or as the poetess once spoke, “what clothes could be more beautiful?”
Words are not written to be buried in the ground. While the arrogant artist might claim simply to “write for themselves,” writing as craft is a gift of gratitude to the world.
While once I wrote at the encouragement of another (and some sense of self-satisfaction at having been asked to in the first place,) today it seems I practice the craft to hone a tool, some natural gift with words that flows through this body.
Again, They said something that comes to mind… Something on the order of “our gifts are not our own, but MUST be given.”
Optimistically then I write, that these words will make some small offering of beauty to the world; that they might pave the way for something simple, something clear, something truly of love to be spoken.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…