To be a writer, to be an artist…

To be a writer, to be an artist, is to shepherd a glimmer of something we have not fully seen. To coax something we only faintly understand. To be coaxed by it in return. And to give it as a gift to someone we have never met.

To be a writer, to be an artist, is to be a witness. A witness to something hidden and tameless. To stand at the urgent nearness of an Event. The immediate meting out instantiation. Being breaking into time. An intervention of the senses. A rustling wild in the understory of brush and leaves. A flash of texture and teeth. A moment of imperceptible recognition. A feral creature in the open for one instance, gone in an instant.

To be a writer, to be an artist, is to tell a story of otherness to a stranger in the hopes they will find a way to see uncannily.

To be a writer, to be an artist, is to “live in a darkened house,” says Tamsyn Muir, a “darkened house” with “infinite rooms.” Working in twilight and half-blindness. Navigating through memory and touch. Through minute vibrations of shifts and sounds. “By the light of a dying candle you cross the room”, says Muir, “knowing that when you reach the threshold of the next room you’ll be gone—the candle passed to someone whose face you can’t see clearly.”

To be a writer, to be an artist is to know the darkness as the source of everything; a nothingness pregnant with it all. “In the beginning there was the darkness”, John O’ Donohue says, and it remains at the center of all things. Vacuity expresses form, and the form reflects the void. The singing heart of every atom’s emptiness is what keeps the world from collapsing. It holds up everything.

To be a writer, to be an artist, is to live in the moment between Satori and Kensho. Between awakening and clarity. Between comprehension and the hollow nature of Being. A koan of liminality, between insight and ineffability. An epiphany in the dark. An epiphany of the dark. A revelation of uncertainty and mystique.

To be a writer, to be an artist, is to heed the call of something nameless. To respond in search of an unknown tongue. To hear an answer in the language of silence.

To be a writer, to be an artist, is to be a prayer.


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2 Comments

    • Duane Toops

      Thank you so incredibly much for taking the time to read and to comment! I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me and how much I appreciate it!

      I think I understand stand it in that I understand I don’t understand it at all. A cloud of unknowing. A via negativa. I know that I know nothing as Socrates might say. It is a sense of mystery provoked not by an experience of absence but by an excess of presence. A hypernymity. A mystery that reveals itself through deeper mystery. A mystery is more manifold than we can imagine.

      Thanks again!

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