When you write you have to attempt something greater than you can possibly hope to accomplish. That is the only way you can leave a hole, a gap—some chance for a miracle.
~ Heather Harpham, I Went to the Animal Fair
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen
Holes. Gaps. Cracks. Miracles. Light.
These are true words about writing.
We start with the holes: holes in our thoughts, our experiences, our emotions, our theories, our theologies, our relationships, even our sentence structure.
We feel the gaps: between what we ache to say and the words we can (or cannot) get onto the page, between what we feel and what we think, between what we long to articulate and our fear of who will (or will not) read, between edit and “publish,” between what is for our-eyes-only and what we so want to have seen.
We know the cracks: the hairline breaks in the sidewalk we hop over instead of land on squarely (safe topics vs. powerful ones); the crevasses into which we fall when no words come; the faultline between writing for readers’ sake and writing for writing’s sake.
But we also experience the miracles: the words that form, the prose that flows, the poetry that seems to create itself; the truth-truth-truth on the lines and in-between them; the recognition and honoring of a wisdom that is ours, all ours.
And the light. Oh, the light. Words that blaze brilliantly into our own holes, our own gaps, our own cracks – and fill them. Words that miraculously shine like a beacon into our own darkness. Words that somehow, painstakingly, mysteriously crafted are actually and amazingly cogent, beautiful, powerful, even breathtaking. Words that lay all our cards on the table, eliminate shadows, reveal our heart, and offer radiant glimpses of our purest, strongest, truest self.
The truth about writing? It’s one of the hardest and bravest and most vulnerable things we can ever do.
There is nothing more sacred, more spiritual, more holy than having a safe place in which to write/speak your voice, your mind, your heart.
So begin, persist, return, lather, rinse, repeat. Please?