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Why write? Why anything at all, for that matter?

“Real life is meeting,” came one answer, whispering from Martin Buber through Harper’s On Presence and finally flowing from Beth’s fingers (fingers on a hand I suddenly see before me, marked with charcoal and time, an artist’s hand well-versed in coaxing matter from emptiness, and more) to rest on the pages below. “Real life is meeting.” I try the words on my own tongue, and finding in them the tension of paradox, taste truth.

“Real life is meeting.”

For meeting to be, there must be separation; we must be unconnected for a meeting to occur. And the more nearly irrevocable this distance, the greater the span crossed, the more profound the touch when it finally occurs. Why write? To live, and to do so deeply–why else?

More and more I am finding only cycles, or, rather, finding myself spinning within them. Buber’s meeting necessitates separation, but to wonder whether it is that we then meet for the purposes of parting, or that we leave only because leaving is a first step to the searing pleasure of return, is as absurd a question as whether night happens to allow the day, or day to afford the night. It is a process as inexorable as the tides, and as unanswerable: we dive within only to return; we exhale only to breath deeply inwards yet again. Reality is rhythm; what else is there to do but waltz?

I have been hunting the elusive beast of truth for lifetimes, and these days its impenetrable hide is is so thickly feathered with desperate arrows of ‘why’ as to render the creature almost unrecognizable. It laughs at me and dances onward. I have learned that where it steps it leaves only impossible tracks. I follow. I am worried not that some final arrow will slay it, no, but that, so feathered, it might soar into the air, and fly.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. “What else is there to do but waltz?” Well, there is also samba, flamenco, polka and ballet. And there is belly, tap and breakdance, just to name a few :)

    You can think and you can fight, but the world’s always movin’,
    and if you wanna stay ahead you gotta dance.
    — Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents

    October 12, 2010
  2. Martin Buber’s “I and Thou” is my favorite philosophical book of all time. In that small unpretentious volume is the essence of all that I believe really matters in both the timeless and the temporal levels.

    I love this post you’ve written, Siona. Meeting and separation – there’s an endless subject!

    October 12, 2010

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