Writing What Can Be Said... : Page 2 of 2
Writing What Can Be Said; and Writing What Can't Be Said
It had happened, while I had been traveling around the circle, before landing in the host position, that I found myself directly in front of Rumi's 22nd-generation granddaughter. "We're going to kiss!" I realized, emptied in a very different way from earlier before. She looked at me with a great, deep affection. "Do you know what this means?" she asked me, taking my hand and raising it to her lips. Her eyes were directly opposite mine, that way, about six inches from mine.
I shook my head no.
She twinkled. "It means, 'Our souls are the same.'"
In digesting this, and what it was like for me to feel my heart open inside at a depth I had been longing for and unable to reach, I become aware that there are at least two ways in which writing what cannot be said can take place. The first is when something from old that occurred before words were available to one's very young being arises ~ something primal, from perhaps the now-famed reptilian brain. A lizard doesn't self-reflect, it just slithers and eats and does what it does. So to bring words to an internal uprising of unexpected pre-egoic identity material is pretty much not possible while that material is being felt. Only afterwords can some effort to give it form, containment, meaning, help come in. "It was like being devoured by emptiness," I could later say of that uprooting experience. Or, "I must have been a forceps-delivery baby, pulled out before I was ready, not given room to use all the way the force of birth latent within me." And, with those words, gaining some foothold that allowed me to start climbing out of the dark hole it had felt I'd fallen into.
But there is another way in which writing what cannot be said can be done, and that way must be attempted, if one is to reach for the largeness of one's being. Often, while writing, I have had the experience of opening to some inner knowing, some inner world, that no matter what words I use, what metaphors I am able to come up with, there is the distinct awareness, "That's not fully it." It's like (and, a metaphor here to say what can't be said) touching the top of the sky and naming that experience, only to realize the sky has no top. Even so, your naming the top that seemed to be the top raises you and your readers that far.
Artists who despair of their writing ~ and there are many, and they often are really good artists ~ sometimes do so because they sense, internally, what they are trying to reach for; and they know that, no matter how beautiful their writing, they have not fully limned that place, have not justly placed their hand around it to bring, a triumph-jewel, to their readers. I have been there; so have my writer-parents, who were both really wonderful writers, and who easily and frequently despaired.
But what I want to tell you, having in a single day touched into both wordless realms ~ the "devouring emptiness" and the expanded allness ~ is that it's okay. It's okay to bring back a glimpse of what you've touched, rather than the whole comprehensive package. It's okay to point a finger at the moon, rather than being able to bring back the moon on a string. It's okay to seek an elusive goal, to bring your best attempt at words to describe what cannot be described in words, it's okay; it's what we can do for ourselves and each other, to remind us of who we are below and beyond the poses of self-improvement. Whether disheveled or magnificent, we are on a journey to know ourselves as aspects of the one Being, and so everything we offer through our writing ~ humanly foibled or illuminated, or places in between ~ tells us something of who we are, tells our readers something of who they are, and erases the lines of separation that we ordinarily believe are real but in fact are only internally drawn lines, and at that, drawn in chalk, not stone.
"Ah, but a man's reach must exceed his grasp/ Or what's a heaven for?" ~ Robert Browning
"When I was the stream, when I was the
"no one ever asked me did I have a purpose, no one ever
"It was when I left all we once were that
"So I returned to the river, I returned to
"and when they accepted,
"For then I knew my soul ~ every soul ~
Copyright © 2011 by Naomi Rose. All rights reserved.
Naomi Rose, Book Developer and Writing Coach, has successfully used her "Writing from the Deeper Self" approach to help people with an inner-directed focus write the books of their hearts. More »