Writing from fear and writing from love leaves similar page-scars but their internal footprints are contradistinctive. One reeks of husbandry and obligation, the other of mad exhilaration rooted in the fervor of curiosity and creation—an exalted state that occasionally strains the boundaries of duty and convention.
Fear threatens an emotional hangover while love suggests the ecstasy of a cure.
I have oftentimes written in fear, my love a dirty secret between me and the page. And the cat. And maybe a few friends too. Truthfully, the one person unaware of the depth of this love was me.
Yes, that great emotional divide, giving me the finger. Again.
Well fuck you right back I suppose. I’m getting better at both recognizing such divides and bridging them in a composed manner.
“You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair…You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed…You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.”
Stephen King doesn’t give a shit that I rarely do anything lightly, writing least of all, but his words are reassuring to folks like me. I would laugh at the diminishing tightness of my sphincter and the knot loosening my belly but I’m still too close to it to crack more than a half-smile.
And while my internal organs have unfurled my mind and heart are catching up only now. Fear is resting some miles back—it’s been fuelling this engine of words for too long now.
Love and fear—the twin pinnacles of vacillation capable of kindling a fire that burns for years.Despite elevation of the former and derision of the latter I’m not certain these emotions can or should be sundered at all times and under all circumstances.
Nor am I certain that fear is an exigent enemy.
We are called, after all, by that which frightens us. Words, ideas, philosophies, human beings, inhuman beings, and the thing I call ‘self’ habitually urges my return, and love is not always the common denominator behind this compulsion.
Does it matter?
Fear is the calling card of the unknown; it is also is the invitation to explore unfamiliar aspects of life and self. Fear’s card is big, interesting, and carries a hell of a lot weight—weight that can be counterbalanced through acknowledgment of love even when that acknowledgement comes at a price that I have, until now, failed to pay.
The weight of surplus is still a weight.
It is the illicit feel of that which is hidden resting in the palm of my hand, in the hereto hungry anterior chambers of my heart. It is the weight of a life unwasted straining for more; of waters tried and tested coursing through my veins, my soul, my words until I am true again.
I don’t scare easily, never have, but I have turned away from what I love—not because I believe that one form of work is superior to another but because I did not believe that love was resilient.
It is fragile, in need of shelter. Wrong. Mother-fucking wrong. Love is tough—it fights and counters and endures but does not relinquish its right to life unchallenged. It must be slaughtered whilst battling in a state of exhaustion; it must be destroyed by hatred, neglect, and starvation.
If you have the patience for that. If you have the time.
And I have no time for that shit, praise Jesus.
I respect my fear for its ability to shelter love itself at times. Yes, it is a great internal alarm that when functioning properly throws itself before us when we’re up to no good, when we’re in danger of mis-stepping, of treading too heavily or too carelessly within our own lives.
Swords by nature are double-edged or they would merely be paring knives.
Fear is the price of being alive; love is taxation. It costs, but the rewards of paying are incredibly high.
Immortality is the natural assumption of youth. I will die one day—we all will; it’s what humans do. But the interim…the interim is where we get to bend to the wheel, gather our love, our hatred, our uncertainty, our questions, our wisdom, our curiosity and our fear to join ourselves to the remarkable and remediate our human fallibilities.