What Do You Write When You Can’t Speak?
Sorry for the blogging silence of late. I’m going through some difficult personal stuff, mostly relating to career (er ministry in my line of work) issues.
In addition to that, I had a case of the old blogger’s writing block start a few weeks ago. It was triggered by having to do some more academic writing which isn’t conducive I find to blogging (and vice versa). But then I noticed it became something deeper–a real question of finding the drive to do this thing at all. So instead of trying to find something outside of this block to try to inspire me, I think I’ll just go into it, if you dear reader would like to follow (and hopefully not find it too narcissistic).
Looking for some way through this and having lost some (most?) of the fire, I came back to the rationale for why we started this merry band of bloggers–the idea of conversing differently in the blogosphere. Before I go any further I should say that while this isn’t intended to be a direct response to Helen R. nor worse by far be Helen bait, her criticism is there in the back (middle?) of my mind and is influencing what I write.
I get what she’s saying and I’ve been guilty of it at times. I’m not minimizing it (or maybe I am you decide). Still the opposite–and by far in my experience the much greater trend (at least in political blogging)–has been the soul-crushing experience of deadened perspectivism. By that I mean everyone has their identity, their team, their ideology, their niche, their sub-niche, their sub-team, and sub-branch of the ideology. Some issue arises and then everything is simply reactive from that point. Your side has to have the right solution/answer to that problem, you immediately jump into the fray armed for that proposal. The other side has rebuttals. You have to deconstruct their rebuttals–or as is more likely, simply avoid anything of value they may be saying and fire at some other hole under their water line never noticing the rising flood within your own political acquatic vessel.
The alternative to that alternative (i.e. the first position) is what Helen calls the gushing. It’s a problem. Depending on your pov, maybe not as bad a problem. But her response hit a nerve for a reason.
I’m not seeking a half-way house between those two addictions. Some kind of tidy in media between the two ways of this medium. No Via Media for the Medium. [I’ve already got enough of that in my church life as an Anglican thanks very much].
I would like something else that would simply bypass those twin failures. For awhile I tried innovative policy blogging (or what I thought was innovative policy anyway). Something that would by a true transpartisanship not some cut the difference bipartisanship now common in our legislative fights. Maybe I’m a cynic but I just found that no one–the readers, the commenters, the other bloggers–is really interested in that.
So that option died. Then I ended up in some weird attempt to be a kind of trickster blogger, like the Fool in Lear, the wise one who hides everything through a strange mocking voice while secretly feeling very deeply. Secretly (though not to the true hearer) deeply wounded by the violence and insanity that swirls about him. Willing against his better judgment to follow the crazy king into the woods of this blogging world.
I think this latest block for me has been the end of that persona as well. And I don’t know what comes next, if anything. But I still have this desire that would be neither the gush but would not be the anti-gush perspectivism of a Helen. For that to me is just the inverse of the same proposition and is still held to its brutal logic though perhaps she is simply more honest than I am.
On the other hand I desire a way that isn’t the common rut of this medium and of our political discourse writ large. I desire it but it doesn’t come. Like God.
This isn’t a backhanded shot at my brother members of the League. Nor is it some less than totally transparent apologia either. It’s not really a matter of blame. Like The Fool running into the storm–does it make any sense there to talk about blame? Undoubtedly as mortal e-flesh we have fallen short of the glory of our stated goals.
Civility is a nice thing. I use nice there purposefully. But I’m still desiring something more than nice. Which is why I analogized it to God since God is not nice and yet God is attractive to me. We’ve achieved some civility via the League protocals I think, I hope, and that’s to the good. Saying that is not trumpeting ourselves to the stars. It’s you know like nice.
To flip the script on Aligheri for a sec: It’s not that I’m lost in this dark wood because I’ve lost the straightway path. It’s that the straightway path (the common path) is the problem. I’ve lost it on purpose. The straightway path of this medium is one wide and broad and therefore one leading to a kind of communicative perdition. I feel not exactly saved by being in this dark wood, this place where I can’t speak, and even if I could no one is there to hear. I feel something else that I don’t know a word for. Not so strong as saved, but something more than just feeling justified in my damnation (and therefore not held responsible for my actions/thoughts).
Possibly whatever that feeling that I can’t name is is related to the desire that I also can’t name. Possibly.
Who knows–maybe this has been nothing more than a fraudulent narcissistic ploy to blaze my own niche and play the game, to become some “deep” blogger or some bs like that.
Maybe. Maybe a part of me. Probably a part of me. For Fraggle’s Rock sake…I don’t know.
Still this desire burns in me for this other way. To journey in company with other pilgrims on that way.