On Writing: All the Tedious Visceral Details of its Whatses



It often happens that I get the urge- the real urge, the real desire- to write while I am on a walk. The idea and the desire to share the idea occur simultaneously and quickly proliferate- in perfect order, along the trajectory of a sentence- into the words with which to translate themselves into being. Always in that moment I feel as though if I’d had a piece of paper and a pencil, it would get written perfectly, just the way I wanted, the way it was supposed to get written.

And it’s important, too. It is imperative that one writes. So there are layers of form: closer to the content are the ways in which it is given something like a shape (which words were used, under which generic persuasion was it written (or will it be perceived)), while all the way out at the edges is the formal significance that it was written, has been written, is (or will be) something written.


So the idea that an idea is coextensive with its desire to be written (that feeling I get when I’m on a walk) makes some sort of sense here, considering the cathartic experience of having finally written that which one had the idea to write (first, that what I wrote was the idea I had, second: the fact that I wrote something).

Similarly fitting is the fact that this all happens while I’m on a walk. Having been made into a noun, the verb- which usually takes place between the subject and the object (I walked to the bus stop, etc.)- becomes the object: here what I want to do is how I want to do it. The act and the object become smooshed together, and it is in the space of this short circuit that I desire to write. The aim is the object is the aim.


It happens too quickly: the realization that this sort of writing, this sort of thinking, is too brutally solopsistic, too selfish; that all desire- especially writerly desire- is (of course), simply narcissism.  And the feeling of how important it is that one realizes this- how easy it is to forget the feeling and how difficult it is to return to it- is too soon forgotten. I want to return to the feeling of something being wrong in order to find out how to make it right.



Dealing with the outsides of something- its formality, its contours and textures, etc.- can be very frustrating: dwelling at or around the moment of apprehension, holding up the composition of the problem itself to the light in order to look at it, taking up the desire for the thing before taking up the thing, constantly deferring the desire to say something solid about the thing, thinking about the importance of the fact of the matter- the that something is, or was, or will be- as a prerequisite for thinking about the what that thing is (and all the tedious visceral details of its whatses)- that’s also the domain of the thing that is the verb you use to get to it.



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