On Writerly Silence
I am now conscious of words the way I started becoming conscious of animal products about a year ago. They feel heavy on my system. I’m sensitive to excess. They make me feel uneasy, the way something might feel if it’s makruh.
At first I thought the solution was silence from speaking*, and I tried it for a few days. It was not without its benefits. I realized how much I talk over my sister. I slept better. My prayers and meditation deepened.
However, I also realized that my spoken words do not hold a candle to my internal dialogue. When I talk over people, I feel as though my head is going to explode from everything I have to convey. I have over twenty unfinished blogposts. I write long, detailed emails that don’t necessarily meander, but they delve into so much detail that writing them exhausts me. In my spoken speech, on the other hand, I suddenly go on tangents, causing others to look at me quizzically. Every conversation is a matter of trying to catch the slippery fish of my thoughts. And then there are the worst symptoms: I haven’t finished a book in months. I would start a thread of supplications, and then forget I was doing it halfway.
To sum it up: I am constantly in a state of writerly rehearsal, thinking of thing after thing to write about, to say.
There was a time when I would have loved to have this problem. But this immense gift of barakah in writing goes hand-in-hand with the necessity to keep listening, keep reading. If I don’t uphold the latter two, I am no longer fit to receive this barakah. Hence all the symptoms.
And so I declare my writerly vow of silence for the next forty days, so that I may to purge myself of internal writing oriented dialogue. There will be no drafting and publishing of blogposts. No journaling. No long emails. A conscious restraint in spoken speech. I may check into Facebook from time to time for reading purposes, but I won’t engage.
Ya Allah, let a space open within me, so I may absorb more of Your Wisdom.
*In two days’ time, I will publish a short (pre-drafted) post that discusses vows of silence in light of Islam.