Thursday, February 7, 2013

I have nothing to say, and I am saying it

I was complimented on my writing today, and it was nice but fleeting. Now that one of my professors begins each class with asking us what we read in the news the day before, I'm becoming more attuned to the exasperated advice my father regaled me with: you learn a lot about the world from reading the Review & Outlook section of the Wall Street Journal. Another professor commended to my perusal Slate Magazine's Double-X section, admitting that though the content is fiercely cynical, there was wit to be imitated in the style. Relevant, Penelope Trunk, The ResurgenceThe Altucher Confidential, and the insightful words of those dear people I am privileged to know personally, all of it, I eat it up. So I've been reading more, fascinating things about the commerce clause and the foundations of interpersonal communication research, and the more I read what others have written, the more I think about writing. I want to write. 

But I just have nothing to say.

And part of this is because I've partly choked my gut within me. A weighted sadness has settled in me. I can be cheerful and chipper, and prefer to be, in the presence of others. I look forward to going to work, where I can answer phones and be helpful and laugh with my coworkers about Nicholas Cage movies. I love giggling in the student senate office, and having pool noodle fights after InterVarsity large group meetings. I am privileged to sit in bed reading Curious George aloud, cuddling with an adorable and cheeky little girl. And there's no better reward for a day spent in activity than a few episodes of LOST with my sisters. Each day is a full one, and while these days brim with good stuff, the sadness is always present in my thinking. Always the thinking. The welling existential questions of my soul, my relationships, and my future. Am I taking enough care about the person I'm becoming? 

When my professor complimented my writing, he told me, "It's a God-given skill you have." And hearing those words coming out of the mouth of a stranger in a secular institution gave them new life to me. It is not that I am the smartest. I am not always right, or even accurate. I have no delusions of grandeur. But I can string words together, and I have a lilt that is my own, and maybe I can even purport that writing is something I'm good at. 

So then what? What am I to do with my God-given skill? 

I'm not used to being good at things, and that's the pity when it comes to all the resources that have been poured into me my whole life. I have been ill-practiced in making the most of them. All this opportunity and privilege, but for what? My stewardship is deplorable. The emptiness is dwarfing me.

What good is being able to say something when you have nothing to say? I feel for you, John Cage.


Nicole said...

Even when you have nothing to say, keep speaking and writing. The words weave a tapestry that sometimes we are too dull to notice until we glance up at the black ink against the paper white and we see inklings of truth there. Keep it up, friend.

Caitriona aka Catherine said...

The instrument is at hand. Words, phrases, clauses, paragraphs of heartaches and pages of pains are trapped inside, changes within and changes without keep me not just from writing but also from publishing posts. It would probably be fair to say that I have as many drafts as I have posts. I am not talking about 1st and 2nd drafts, but drafts started, ones that I might even deem important. Then there is the staring at the blank page, desperately wanting to write but I can not bring myself to do it. Worst of all is the gripping fear that keeps me from even daring expose my thoughts to the page.

Keep reading and keep writing Hayley.

Your post today is our collective cry for FREEDOM and in the midst of it, you are setting us all free.

Tunafish said...

ditto =P i must admit you seem to see the happies and blessings better than i can. but encouragement is always heartening so i empathize and say thanks =) i'm currently rediscovering the wonder of Pooh's world, a gentle breathing long overdue. and though i, and my cup may be filled with good things... they always seem to turn a little sour and sit too long so the bitterness rises to and rests on the top. i find a constant stirring is rather helpful though doesn't mean everything in life suddenly becomes sweet. i've got enough sugar in me already, i just need to pour it out. and i think this has started to dissociate =P writing... is wonderful but inconsistent. but given it's worth, i wouldn't have it any other way. and i'll save you the suffrage of poetic redundancies.

Hayley Hutchins said...

Thank you guys so much for your encouragement! You're each an inspiration, please don't ever stop writing.