Cue theme music to any horror film. How dare I write such a blasphemous title for this post.But seriously, I did this, I took time to imagine what it would feel like not to be surrounded with words. Looking back, there was one period of my life when we didn’t own a home computer as we waited, in transition mode, to be assigned our territory. This period stretched on for a year. But I also had a newborn and was fully entrenched in survival mode so I’m not sure I can count this year.
Who would I be if suddenly the director of the show Hoarders decided I owned too many books and he sent his crew to barge in to cart them all away (wah!)? Who would I be if suddenly my brain clenched and I ceased writing the entertaining twists and turns my characters love to take?
No doubt I’d be crabbier, perhaps I’d overcompensate on the social front—but mostly I think I’d go mad.
Why bother exploring a world like this—a world void of words? Two reasons:
1. I’m playing with the idea of creating an illiterate character and I want to climb inside his shoes.
2. Last night I read this in Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones (in the chapter titled, “We Are Not the Poem”)
“Don’t identify too strongly with your work. Stay fluid behind those black-and-white words. They are not you. They were a great moment going through you. A moment you were awake enough to write down and capture.”
Here’s something I’m going to work hard to remember though as I write to make impact with the world…my words are separate from who I am. They “capture moments I’ve been awake enough to write." They may help keep me sane, fill a passion within, meaningfully reach readers, or enrich my life in innumerable ways, but without them I’d go on. Or at least I think I would. ;-)
Have you ever considered who you’d be in the absence of reading or writing?
*photo by stock.XCHNG