I used to write: poetry, fiction, essays. I had a talent for it, though words never felt easy to me. Nigh on twelve or thirteen years ago, I stopped. Grief silenced me. Editing mediocre writing for pay further numbed my love of language. I also quit talking about myself. Though some of my previous published writing had been quite self-revelatory, I became fanatically private.
Meeting me in person, you probably wouldn’t know any of this. Though I’ve always been shy, I’m quick, and I love to laugh and joke—when it come to puns, I verge on Tourette’s. So when I’m “on,” I can come across as jovial even. And over the years, I’ve learned to converse about the mundane. When I’m not focused on a task or goal, I can actually be friendly. I tend to ask a lot of questions, which keeps conversation flowing. I just reveal little about myself.
Of course, when I want to talk, when I want to connect with someone at a level deeper than the everyday, I revert to being painfully awkward and much too intense. So, mostly, I keep my silence.
My silence used to hurt. It doesn’t much anymore, one of the blessings of age—and art—for me. But breaking it does.
And writing, for me, is the most intense and painful form of breaking silence—so much so that even writing about the mundane is a test of perseverance. Simple emails? Ordeals.
So why the hell am I writing a blog?
Two and a half years ago, I applied to document this year’s International Turning Exchange, thus committing myself to this future task of writing on demand. I had warmed up the year before by creating my web site and writing most of the text that is still posted there. Then I wrote a couple of articles related to woodturning. A year and a half ago, I wrote a haiku. Last weekend, I wrote another seventeen syllables of poetry.
It’s time to begin to break my silence for good. My soul knows it, even if my mind still stamps and rears.