One can have a pulse, breath in the lungs, eyes that see, ears that hear, and a mouth that mutters nonsense when required… and still be considered dead, Dead, DEAD.
As Ray Bradbury says in his poem, “Doing Is Being,” “To not do is to die…” And I have found myself reflecting over the past few months on the crux of G. K. Chesterton’s Manalive:
His principle can be quite simply stated: he refuses to die while he is still alive. He seeks to remind himself, by every electric shock to the intellect, that he is still a man alive, walking on two legs around the world.
A writer who writes not is dead. And I’ve been on the deadish side of the lively scale for quite some time.
Not that I have ceased writing completely. It has dwindled. I have a productive day and I rejoice loudly, only to be followed by another span of unproductivity. The flow was constant once, long ago, and it absolutely flourished. But life goes through various changes and stages. We grow befuddled. Still, one must prioritize. One must plan and schedule. I am well aware of my shortcomings. And I know this is a struggle for many writers.
To quote Bradbury again, “Not to write, for many of us, is to die.”
I tend to agree.
Life is a strange thing. It isn’t always lively. Sometimes life slinks off into the corner to whimper. We must be disciplined. We must do. We must live.
Sometimes that is difficult. Painfully difficult. Life flings many sharp-edged rocks at us. Sickness. Loss. Fears. All sorts of distractions and depressive monsters that leave you stunned, overwhelmed, and sometimes empty, loud demands that beg immediate attention, making our whispered loves and preferred inclinations shuffle dejectedly aside…
Once the storm is gone and you pause, realizing you’ve been inert for much too long, you must come back to life. It takes effort. But it must be done.
And to create is a big help. Be it art, photography, music, or writing, it is always good to create.
It’s time to stop thinking about it, dreaming about it, reading about it, and reminiscing about it. Pick up the pen and let it be a constant companion once again.
It’s time to stop being dead.