There is a time to write and there is a time to stay silent. To not write. And there are times when writing does not come.
No, I am not talking about writer’s block. I am talking about events in a person’s life that leave a deep impact. Pain that lies too deep for tears and emotion that lies too deep for words.
Know what I am talking about?
Certainly there are blogs out there that chronicle pain and love and other emotions as they come everyday. The blog is a form especially suited for such an outlet.
But at the same time, good writing is “emotion recollected in tranquility” for many of us. Noting experience down in the heat of the moment often distorts the shape of what lies deep in our hearts on the mirror of our page, desecrates what seems to be pure, exposes to interpretation and reception and distorts what must not be interfered with.
The moment one tries to chronicle experience, what emerges seems to be removed from the experience one had. When it reaches the reader, the reader puts himself into that experience. His/her perspective colours everything. Good for the reader but is it as good for the writer too?
Besides, our own perspective as writers colours everything too.When we put out experience into writing, can we be totally honest? Do we want to be? Are we ever totally honest with ourselves?
If we are certain that people we know will be reading, we might tweak experiences consciously, removing, glossing over, telling stories about our experiences for these people we know.
We might feel more free if we are completely anonymous writers. But between the experience and the writing of it falls the shadow. What is chronicled is never as immediate as what passed. It’s always hard to look at the typed screen which presents a narrative always distant from the one that memory knows.
Yet, is not writing the solution? Is waiting for those emotions to settle into tranquillity before picking up the laptop the right strategy? Should some things be forgotten? Should some things not be chronicled too soon?
Conflicting thoughts are lost with time and a large narrative of what we want to remember remains that fits in nicely with our perspective of ourselves and our sense of morality, identity and whatever else defines us. Some of us are more self-centred than others but all of us remember the past from our own point of view. But it takes time for our self-centred selves to edit the past according to what we want to see.
Should we give our memories that much time to get edited?
What is lost when memories are lost? Not just the memories of the large sweeping narratives of history but the small everyday conflicts of our lives and the deep pains and pleasures of our natural existence? Is there value in them? Should they be chronicled in the only manner we can, from our perspective? Should they be chronicled as they take place so we don’t lose them? Or must we respect forgetting as part of the nature of experience and let it be as it was meant to?
Are memories meant to be forgotten and should writing not interfere with the forgetting process? Should some things be left alone?