There are a hundred things I've been wanting to tell you, stories and scraps of stories that I don't even know how to string together yet. It's always hard for me to wait for the words to catch up.
This gap can be a slow and subtle torture, especially because it's so hard to hear the quiet spells of others. We only see their words on the screen or hear them coming from a lit up stage or in a carefully edited film and it's easy to imagine they are always like this: witty and clever, buttoned up and polished with their timing effortless and smooth.
But here is what I want you to know:
No one tells you about the quiet parts.
The magazines aren't hunting down actors between roles to say: How are you resting right now? They don't find a musician right after the tour ends to say: How do you find your way to what's next?
And to be honest, I quickly tire of all the unveilings, because as a creative I live so little of my time there and I need wisdom for the other seasons, too. Not in a Hold My Hand So I Can Imitate You way, but in a way that finds universal wisdom running under and through each of our very specific experiences.
I want to tell you about the quiet parts.
I don't want them to take you by surprise when they come, because for those of us who find so much comfort and meaning in the words, losing them can feel terrifying, like falling out of a plane with a parachute that won't open. And you're watching the ground get closer and closer and wondering if the parachute will magically open in time.
Because despite all our talk of writerly discipline, there is an arbitrary magic to when the right words appear at just the moment we need them. There's a grace, a feeling of receiving something instead of making it up out of some mix of sweat and grind.
[Now switch metaphors with me.]
But when the quiet comes, it is like Mother Nature insisting we leave this ground fallow before planting again. It forces us to nourish, to rejuvenate, to rest. It protects us from stripping ourselves bare again and again--because this can so easily become compulsive.
And how can it not? When our attention is always on the launch or the release, we easily infer: I release, therefore I am. To do anything else feels not just lazy, or like falling behind--it can feel like we actually don't exist. That nothing else matters, and that we don't matter in any other posture or context.
This is why I want to talk about the quiet parts and the hidden places--so that when they come we will all know that we are not alone. That we will remember that it all starts here, in the quiet beginning.
So we will remember to treat these times as sacred, and ourselves as holy in them.
Tell me you know the quiet, too, and we will circle and bow heads together.