This past year I haven’t written much or regularly. Reasons for this are legion, but let’s start here: I’m afraid I have nothing new to say.
And that may be true. Billions of human beings have existed through the ages and somewhere north than 7 billion of us are sharing this planet right now. All of us have something to contribute; most of us have something to say. That means that whatever I say, whatever I do, is not likely to be unique. It’s presumptuous to assume so.
And, given the state of the world as portrayed with disturbing immediacy by the media, why should anyone listen to me?
So should I keep talking? Should I keep writing, even as I wonder if what I’m saying has any value?
Writers through the ages have asked themselves this question. The ones whose work has legs, whose work is taught in schools, is probed and analyzed, and to which shifts of culture and thought and world views are attributed, have never stopped even when they doubted. It’s more like this: the fact that they kept going despite doubt, or dread, and sometimes dreck, is why their work matters now and still will when we are all gone.
Writing is something you do; and doing anything well means doing it often, even on days when you don’t do it well. It means getting up and doing it again after you’ve quit.
I ran a half marathon this morning. I ran despite July, humidity, sunshine, and no shade. I ran though I’d rather have slept in. I ran though I’m not in great shape this year and it’s hard. I ran the Beach Babe Half Marathon with nearly 300 other beautiful women (and a few men) of all ages, backgrounds, and skill and fitness levels.
I was there to support; I was there because I need support. This is something I really can’t be trusted to do alone. Trust me, I can’t.
Just like you have to keep running until you cross the finish line, just like you have to keep cooking until it’s a meal, just like you have to keep turning in homework until you pass a class, you have to keep talking until you say something.
Each and every one of us, as grains that comprise human infinity, will leave behind treasures of great meaning to those who know us and perhaps to those who don’t.
So let’s all keep talking until we say something.