Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another blog on blogs, or my New Year’s resolution

My New Year’s resolution this year is to write. Just to write. To see what I might have to say. The blog, which I’ve never written, seems to make manifest the desire behind all writing—to be heard by someone you know but don’t know, someone you can’t see who is nonetheless extremely close. Someone (or is it something?) not exactly there and yet potentially reachable in the act of writing.

One of my favorite poets, W.S. Graham, wrote to this unseen auditor all the time. Knowing he had someone to write to who could never quite hear, and yet was part of a contract for communication that both subscribed to, gave Graham a way to write. And that’s what I’m looking for this year: A way to begin. To say what might need to be said. Here’s one of W.S. Graham’s poems on the subject:


Meanwhile surely there must be something to say,
Maybe not suitable but at least happy
In a sense here between us two whoever
We are. Anyhow here we are and never
Before have we two faced each other who face
Each other now across this abstract scene
Stretching between us. This is a public place
Achieved against subjective odds and then
Mainly an obstacle to what I mean.

It is like that, remember. It is like that
Very often at the beginning till we are met
By some intention risen up out of nothing.
And even then we know what we are saying
Only when it is said and fixed and dead.
Or maybe, surely, of course we never know
What we have said, what lonely meanings are read
Into the space we make. And yet I say
This silence here for in it I might hear you.

I say this silence or, better, construct this space
So that somehow something may move across
The caught habits of language to you and me.
From where we are it is not us we see
And times are hastening yet, disguise is mortal.
The times continually disclose our home.
Here in the present tense disguise is moral.
The trying times are hastening. Yet here I am
More truly now this abstract act become.

Graham lived a life of solitude and poverty in Cornwall, in a small cottage without plumbing. He spent his time trying to speak to someone (“Dear Who I Mean,” he entitles one poem), to find something to say. Waiting for “some intention [to] rise up out of nothing” was his dream, and my dream, of what writing might do. That it might connect one to an/other. That it might make something / new. That it might shine a light, compose a dawn, draw the faint starting of a path for change. Not necessarily the “yes-we-can” kind, but a more tentative “maybe”: maybe something’s/someone’s out there, waiting.

So this is my New Year’s resolution: to write, to try. And it is also an invitation to others. You don’t need anything to write but the will to begin, to move a line forward, to start on a tentative path where an intention might just rise up, out of nothing.

Mark Silverberg