About eleven months ago, I hit the publish button on my first commatology post, I came here to write. In that post I described how, eleven years ago now, we stumbled onto this farm in northern BC and seized the opportunity to realize our lifelong dreams—LW’s of farming and mine of writing. I told you I was lured to this place by a story, one I still hadn’t finished writing. I talked about being blocked, and I said:
The hypothesis I’m testing here is that committing to regular blog posts will help me unblock so I can finish my book.
Creating this blog has definitely helped me commit to showing up at the keyboard to write. It’s helped me to feel part of a community of writers and to take myself more seriously as a writer.
But after ten months of blogging, I still wasn’t any closer to finishing a book.
Two things happened simultaneously to change that situation: winter arrived, and I backed away from the internet. As the snow deepens now and each day becomes a bit more hushed, I can hear my story’s voice getting stronger and clearer. I can hear my own voice, and it’s telling me the story.
Surprisingly, it’s not the story I came here to write. It’s a story I started writing twenty years ago, before life—and the internet—got in the way. More surprising still is that I don’t think I was ever actually blocked. I just had so much outside stimulus and information swirling around me that I couldn’t hear my own voice.
I haven’t given up the internet completely, but I’m using it now in a much more conscious and intentional way. Yesterday, for example, I used it to follow an intuitive trail that led me to the poet David Whyte, who writes about going inside ourselves to the “deep but dazzling darkness” of our inner landscape. The first line of David Whyte’s poetry I ever encountered, quoted by Sue Monk Kidd, comes from his poem “Sweet Darkness.” When I read it, it struck me like a thunderbolt:
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Elsewhere Whyte talks about losing the conversation at the centre of your life. When that happens, he says, “you’ve lost the pivot point and you’ve lost your piece of ground. You must get back onto that ground and … begin the conversation.”
That’s what I’ve been doing, I think, and the result, I’m happy to report, is that I’m writing much more, and much more freely and creatively, than I have ever done.
It’s so still here inside my deep but dazzling darkness.
I am still here.
And I am still here to write.