On existing,

Lately I’ve been quiet. Writing little, submitting less. Letting go the reins to see exactly how things persist without me. The way they always will. It’s a scary thing to pull back in this age of instant attention, for fear of no longer existing. But on the waterfront, where I’ve traded much of my keyboard time for idle walks, iPod listens, books I would normally file as "electives" and cloud vapours curling into one another, that worry has whittled down to reveal a glorious falsehood. Since the Mayor's Poetry City Challenge, I've doubled my running distance but published nothing. To separate "no longer existing" from the perception of such. I haven’t taken in a springtime like this since 2011.

Family concerns brought me to this impasse; separate experiences with cancer and death that, happening simultaneously, made clear just how absurd the need is to force our voices upon the world. In a community where who’s listening and reading matters less than who’s speaking and writing, my recent sabbatical has felt less like a departure than a new conversation — still with myself, only intentionally. I am the voice not speaking. 

This quiet time has welcomed a gentle accumulation of words. I’m beginning to answer emails again, click away at half-composed essays. Last week I even published some reviews. Though raw and unfinished, these new stanzas have rekindled a spark, a desire to excite, challenge or satisfy (at the very least, myself). And if I meet these criteria, you — rare and dear reader — will be the first to know. Now get outside and let the harbour breeze blow you 'bout.


  1. nod, a whole lot of mortality going around. it used to make me want to speed up to get something done in time but now it makes me want to slow down to make a few small worthwhiles. highlights of the day are often the people.

    sometimes I wonder if writing isn't a substitute for in-depth conversation then in in-depth conversation I wonder if that isn't a substitute to hold you over for water and forest.

  2. I appreciate these thoughts, Pearl, and agree: in-depth conversation and writing do create a similar environment, a sort-of sanctuary from hurried or doubtful paces. Communication, at its best, is true freedom.


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