The mutinous nib

All writing is creative if we know how to look. All writing is painful, if we know how to feel. But the reader always suffers more. Always endures more, the agony of putting up not only with what’s on the page, but with what the writer decided to leave out. It’s a gentle pain that never goes away. At worst, it turns into resentment. At best, it turns the reader into a writer, and the pain cycle begins anew.

The nib may follow the mind, but in fact it falls off cliffs. In the flow, the pen stops flowing, and begins to leap. Instructed to follow the track, it goes offroad. It breaks free, prompting a gentle mutiny of the word.

The illusion of control escapes the sober-mindedness of the nib. Words are crafted out of convention, but the latter always recedes in the face of scribal rebellion.

We put words down, but they are never quite down. Every gesture of legibility involves a large measure of illegitimate meaning. Words cause offence because they never quite belong anywhere. A language’s lexicographical treasure is a chest full of fine sand running through our fingers. Text is violence, but it is the kind of violence which ought to be embraced. For without it, there would be no life, just an empty page, the hollowness of it all.

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