You stop reading for a while, maybe accidently, maybe purposely, maybe both. You maneuver—both subtly and sharply—into a land where there is no time for such things; exhaustion wins, iPhone games overrule. Then you read something great and think, Holy Shit. You read an article in Wired and think, My god, that was well put-together. You aimlessly—finally—browse those piled-up, unread issues of Harper’s and laugh, almost cry, and remark—out loud—to yourself, “Fuck.”
For the past few weeks I’ve been doing everything in the dark; someone flipped on the switch, and I now see, Oh yes, everything’s much better this way.
It’s baffling I could forget the enjoyment of words, the turns of phrases, the dichotomy of diction. Do you write to live or live to write? I’m sure that’s some well-worn cliché—but suspend the rules: Isn’t it both? Ignoring the financial implication and taking it literally: Wouldn’t I die if I didn’t write?
Don’t I start to every time I forsake it or ignore it because I’m too busy; too stressed; too distracted? So I feel like I’m experiencing the Age of Enlightenment from a short story about a father, a fishing hook and a rabbit; from a list of descriptions of the sun compiled by Alzheimer’s patients; from an essay on modernity’s twisted take on happiness and suffering that reflects what I’ve been saying all along but of course says it a thousand times more eloquently and articulately. And—because I am Enlightened!—I must finally write, because I’m writing in my head as I shower, afraid I’m going to lose the Enlightment!, so I must get it down on paper (albeit virtual paper); must overuse semi-colons because Why not? this is writing and it can be whatever I want. I could BEGIN WRITING IN CAPS IF I PLEASED, MERELY BECAUSE THE OPTION HAS BEEN PLACED BEFORE ME AND IT IS YET ONE MORE WAY TO CONVEY MEANING.
But of course, the fervor, as it must, as it always does, won’t last. It will retreat slowly, unnoticed as time passes, because Enlightenment! cannot last—if it did I might die from sheer pleasure—because it comes in waves, rolling in and out, sometimes the tide lasting longer than others. So I hope, probably naively and uselessly, that this one can last; that I can read and recognize the well-done as I devour; that I can appreciate the crafting and refining—the shaping of the big: the theme, the angle, and the minutiae: the nuances, the subtleties, that without them would render words just letters on paper (virtual or otherwise)—before the light gets turned off, and I am once more unaware.