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 Resurgence, The 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.