Con Pro – A Response in 2 Parts

I. If You Can Write

This week, Red Room asks its members to blog about the pros & cons of writing for free.
The challenge contains this quote:
“Ask yourself if all jobs paid $2 an hour, what job would I want to do? When you anwer that question, start doing it, even if you have to do it for free at first.” – Greg Aldrik
My brain immediately flipped to this:
“In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?” – Ranier Maria Rilke
It was then I realized the challenge isn’t for me. It likely isn’t for the majority of Red Room’s wards either.
If your gut response to Rilke is ‘Yes,’ if you spend nights without sleep carving letters on paper or tapping the keys of your computer then it doesn’t apply to you either.
If you need a pro & con list to determine whether or not writing is for you then you aren’t a writer.
You can write but it’s just something you do. It’s your profession but it’s not who you are. It’s not a lens through which you see the world. It doesn’t trap you at breakfast or 3am in a maze of words you’ve yet to understand but know you must purge.
For you, writing is perfunctory. It’s not torture. It’s not elation.
God you people must be terrible in the sack.
II. If I Could Not Write
I would implode.
Like a black hole.
No breath, no blood, no chi
stale skin shell
bloodless veins.
If I could not write
I would go insane
Driven mad by the weight of my thoughts
Driven mad by the thoughts of others
tattooed on the skin of my soul
All things seep in here.
The pen, the keys, the paper, the screen.
All these seep it out there.
Implosion becomes explosion
The word is salvation from the dark.
If I could not write
I would cease to be.
not even a red phantasm
only a void.
For what am I without language?
What are any of us without language?
Ricoeur taught me that.
Heidegger too.
With language we are.
I could toss them all.
They could all toss me.
Health, love, children, sisters, brothers, friends, things
Yet with the word
I would remain
and with the pen
I would reign.
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