Thursday, 11 November 2010

Writing Instruments and the Rage of Silence

“Why don’t I just choose silence?” asks the good Nemo. I am drawn to silence. But I (too) need inscription. Inscription is an antidote to silence. It requires a writing instrument and a hand and a piece of paper or a keyboard; there is, in other words, a materiality about inscription that saves the mind – my mind – from the inchoate rage that lives within my silence.

I see the words slip through my fingers and when I lose them I know there is nothing else beyond them. No other redemption, no parallel universe, no afterlife for the lost words. If I lose my words (and recently I do), I lose my ability to invent reality. The reality of my silence is intangible. The pen reminds me of the material world.

Not that said material world appeals to or appeases my ingrained misanthropy. Not that I can see meaning. But the world gives me material to invent. And there is nowhere else to go. In inventing I retreat and in inventing I contain the rage in my silence for a while.

I am on the brink. Pens, nibs, pencils, inks hold the promise of escape.


  1. I hope you are OK, Lito.

    your post reminded me of this, which captures something of the importance of writing an account.

    And then when I clicked through to your link, to Noughtilus' blog I smiled to find an account of roaming through the streets of London in search of obscure, hard-to-find razor blades.

    Are such coincidences really just that?

  2. Thank you for pointing me to this account of Orwell - it is a poignant passage. I, too, feel sometimes that "even the monologue has dried up." In vain do I wet my nib, in vain do I stare at the cream paper. Words seem like a rare luxury - like Nemo's Timor blades.

  3. (Silent, written nodding of awed agreement.)