Midnight Writing : July 2015

This is it. The dark and dangerous hour when my mind, released by a weary body and the tasks of the day cease their incessant calling, this is the hour when my mind ignites. Words, unbidden and unbiddable cascade across my mind in a torrent that I cannot stop, and would never hope to withstand. The words tumble and converge. Ideas branch from one another and then wind their way through a mind in chaos, only to re-merge, just to fragment again. 

This spell that the words put on me shatter my peace. What little I have. I am compelled, down the darkened stairs into the light of a single flame to write what I am bidden by the words in my mind. Uncontrolled, chaotic, tumbling, spinning, crashing, forming and reforming, again and again. So I pour darkness into darkness, howling with ink onto a page that will end crammed with vowels and syllables and ideas and have no meaning.   It is the stuff of madness.  

As lighting gives but a fraction of illumination I chase the words hoping that in the chaos I can glimpse some semblance of the mind behind them. Is it vast, beyond my comprehension. Is that why I can only ride the torrent of words and not find sense in them. I tie up my hair, a distraction from the relief I am trying to find.  Words. 

What are you reading, my Lord. 
Words.   Words.   Words.  

(Hamlet, Act II Scene II) 

Hamlet had it right.  Words.  They are the key to and the respite from madness.  For in words are both the hinting and healing of a mind in chaos.  Find the right words, string them together, make sense and Lo, you are sane.  Find the right words, string them together and have a meaning that means nothing or which cannot be discerned and Lo, you are mad. 

I know I am not mad, I ride the torrent, down into Charybdis and back again. Taken up by the same words that pour out, for unlike Claudius, though my words are somewhat torn, they rise up to heaven.  In the darkness they fly like sparks.   

There is no draft in this.  This is pure, pouring out of what is inside. There is no editor, there is no process, but to sit in the dark, and to let the pen cross the page. The house may creak and groan around me, but the only sound will be the churning of the words in my head as I struggle to push them out of the pen. Out through the fingers, out into the world, where they will dry. Living things drying to mere reminders of the turmoil.  

Sometimes there is a reason. Some days there is a thought or an idea or a passion that cannot remain silent any longer. That need will start the torrent of words and feelings and emotion that is so often shut securely away. Not tonight. There is no wound behind the words tonight. This night in this stillness they simply wanted to shed their skins and fly. So I obey. Eyes closed, watching the words form in my mind and paying no attention to the page. I let my hands move unfettered across the surface, no resistance to the words that want to escape or shape themselves. Let them go. Unimpeded. Freely. For only in that is there peace. Try to hold onto them, they will choke and dam everything behind them.   Let them run. Let them be. 

When silence comes. My hand is cramped. Ink smudges the page. There are misspellings, but there are no mistakes. The mistake would be to try to hold the swell back to ensure better precision. This isn’t an exercise in writing. It is survival.

The Vanishing Point

Midnight thoughts with CPTSD

In the darkness of my bedroom I look at the ceiling.

Lit only by the pale moon, the fan, still in the autumn cool, is a black spider clutching the ceiling and hovering over the bed. In perfect silence and with the greatest care I relax my desperate grip on my sleeping husband’s hand.

It would be rude to wake him. Worse still to disturb his sleep with my need. And so, with practiced grace, I leave him in peace as I withdraw.

Down the stairs in darkness. I light no lamps that might pierce the darkness of our bedroom and thereby alert or alarm him. Silently past the sleeping dogs. The retriever yipping softly as he chases dream rabbits. The poodle twitching as he snores curled into a tight ball beneath his blanket. They might accompany me into the solitary darkness below, but…better to let them stay with him, blissful in their sleep.

When I was younger I was not so careful. Perhaps I thought I had some justification, some fundamental right to a voice, a sound, to even just the smallest word of distress. But all words fall silent.

It is their nature.
Even a scream ends when the breath is exhausted.

When I was younger the frictions that moved me, that jarred me or brought me to the edge of imposing on others, were more frequent.

They left me bruised.

At times I thought I would explode, but I couldn’t do that. The mess it would leave for others! That? That would be terribly rude. How could I possibly be so inconvenient? It simply would not do.

So to protect myself I have become, not harder, not impervious, but instead malleable, permeable. I am capable now of absorbing the pains that earlier would have broken me. I can smile and let the world go on, unimpeded by any concern I might cause.

I am not invisible—It would be far too jarring to simply wink out of existence: the days and routines of those I love would be interrupted—but I have no mass. Pain has nothing to cling to, despair nothing to resound through or echo off of. They pass through me as easily as through air.

What holds me in place and gives me shape are my thoughts. My mind is all that defines the void within.

My mind ties me together. Each insubstantial thought gives shape to me as the insubstantial air gives shape to a bubble: the only thing truly there is air.

My mind is a constant thing. It is like the sea, turning over and over. Even as it defines my limits it erodes my barriers. It turns over the pain, the desire, the loss, the resentment, the fear, the self-loathing, relentlessly. They all tumble against each other in perpetual action. They polish one another to a glossy shine; they lose their edges and become, almost, tiny jewels, moments of exquisite beauty and sadness.

One day, when the last tear is shed, the last resentment purged, the last fantasy dispatched, and the last desire let go, my mind will have ground all its emotions and thoughts to dust. There will be no more thoughts.

In that moment I will cease.

Midnight Writing Jan 9, 2016

Some people travel through the Shadowlands and after trial and tribulation they emerge. They shake off the dark soot of so many sorrows and return to the sun.

But I lived in the Shadowlands. I ate of the fruit and drank from bitter and saline streams. Years have passed here and the Shadowlands have swallowed decades. Now even though I, at times, emerge into the whiteness of the midday sun, I know that the Shadow is with me, hidden beneath my heel.  For I have learned, after long and ardent denial, that the Shadows live within me.