02 September 2015

When Silence Falls: A (not final) Goodbye

This is likely the last thing you're going to see in this corner of the internet for quite some time, partly because of school, but also for another reason. Every single thing I've written has been an attempt to articulate the inarticulate, to say in words what can't be said it words. "All living things began as thoughts" as George McDonald put it: before anything was a word or a poem or a civilization, it was a thought. People have asked me (aka my former speech students) "How do you come up with something new? I want to do something different, something I've never done before."  And I tell them: I've never tried anything new. New styles and approaches, yes, but all the songs and stories I've ever written, happy or sad, whimsical or dark, bad or good, all stem from a single Thought. And the Thought is so big it can't fit into prose or paints--for prose is knowledge, and thought is essential being. It's bigger than the sky itself. The only reason I generate this art in a wild frenzy is simply because I keep on failing.

This summer I did a lot of things: hiking the Wonderland Trail, saying hellos, saying goodbyes, falling in love, falling out of love, all the time trying to reach the Thought, every time falling short. All is vanity, though it is not in vain (the paradox). For us, says Eliot, there is only the trying.

"Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."

--T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

So here is yet another attempt (which is in some ways thematically connected to all this, it some ways entirely different) one in many more to come, but not for a while. It's time to retreat and get back to the Thought. All that about beginning and finishing and growing up and hope and depravity and a million other things too big for words.

And again, I am indebted to Keely Rendle, Nathan Quick, and Alex Kaehler for helping make this thought a reality.

Keep on being the beautiful humans you are.
-The Minstrel Boy