This year I decided to set a goal of penning 12 pieces of work (prose, poetry, essay, paragraph), and as inspiration, I selected 12 quotes on “writing” I thought would help get me started, or at least spark the engine. As it has been said, a dream without a plan is just a wish. 

Writing is a Struggle Against Silence – Carlos Fuentes

My shower discourse is eloquent and passionate and convincing, but my social dialogue borders on dry and flimsy. And often my written words fall flat on my own ears. Mostly, I sit on my voice, afraid or unwilling to place it on the altar of public opinion (or even private opinion). Still I attempt, from time to time, to plot my ideas, looking for constellations among a random array of thoughts. 

When I lament into the wind, or cry into the roar of a waterfall, or even whisper into my pillow, there is no echo of dissent or accusation. There is only my own voice, or the voice of God, to contend with – and this is inevitably a private discourse. But when I write it down with the intention of sharing it with another human, I am inviting friction, judgment, and ultimately the prospect of a confrontation with my own errancy. I am exposed to the possibility of standing in a place where I have to humble myself (from the root word humilis – Latin – on the ground), which is to no longer stand in that place at all, but instead to prostrate myself upon the earth. And no one who shares their heart is interested in bathing it in the dirt.

The written word carries with it the expectation of forethought – an association which cannot easily be pardoned. If you have carefully considered the implication and meaning of your words, then surely there is no excuse for a misstep. This was no knee-jerk essay or poetic outburst. The impromptu spoken word can be forgiven by virtue of its emotional fetter – a crime of passion can elicit a sympathetic response, but there is very little room for absolution in the wake of the printed page.

There is safety in silence. To share ideas on a page is like reading from your diary on a first date – everything is exposed, every part of you is vulnerable, and you walk away wondering if you are liked, if you’ve just made a fool of yourself, and if you have blown a chance at a second date. And yet, like in relationships, there is no chance of a second date without braving the peril of the first. Walk into any library it becomes clear that despite the uncertainty, writers of both recent and ancient times have been tenacious in their efforts.

So I, and others, write on, always with hope that our words will fall on the ears of those who will recognize that we have laid down our armour (and our heart), as an offering to the world.