Site icon Liesl Garner

Roaring Quiet of an Open Space


How incredibly odd. My mind is still. I have been in constant conflict for so long, I don’t know what to do with a settled, contentedness. I will learn.

For so long, there was always at the back of my mind a battle raging. There was so much love, and yet so much disappointment and angst. I grew up in the church, but my memories of warmth and dinner conversations didn’t carry through to what I found in the world as an adult. I find “the church” operating in the world with just the worst Public Relations foibles imaginable, and that used to be my worry somehow. It is no longer my concern. My heart is at peace about where I stand in all the fray, and I can let things be.

This morning, I read a list of character traits that are common in writers, and one stood out to me:

Conflictual: Writers fight a myriad of internal battles that are difficult to translate to other people. for example, they often have low self-esteem coupled with an odd form of grandiosity (John Barth: ‘It’s a combination of an almost obscene self-confidence and an ongoing terror.’); they are intelligent but in unmeasurable ways (they don’t test well and frequently have unconventional educations); they are highly skilled yet have difficulty finding congenial work in the world; they are easy-going in their lifestyle yet have unusual and non-negotiable needs; they have off-beat yet distinctive tastes; they enjoy people but are fierce about time alone; they are likable but peculiar. (Excuse the generalizations.)

~ Gail Sher, One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers

Is there any other group of artisans with as many books encouraging them to stop torturing themselves and do the thing that they do? Are there books of Pottery Instruction urging potters to stop doubting themselves, to put their foot to the pedal and simply start spinning that wheel? There are so many books of how to write, and how to continue writing, and how to stop beating oneself up and *blasted* write. Writing is a battle of emotions and words flaying themselves onto the page.

It is ridiculous.

It is what I do.

I read a discussion yesterday about Writer’s Block, which was really good. I do not have Writer’s Block right now, I have Open-Brain-Free-From-Torment-Rattling-Around-Empty-In-An-Enormous-Space. And it is not a block, it is incredibly loud for how quiet it is. It is buzzing like crickets in symphony on a summer night. It has endless possibilities. It is ripe with promise.

It cries out for intention and purpose, and something new to ponder other than the frustration and ruin I had as my angle for such a long time, in the midst of seeking out the beauty in the brokenness.

It will be interesting to see where we go from here. Once again, I am at a jumping off place, and the tiny pool at the bottom of this high-dive is the page, and I have an aim to splat there.

photo from here

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