One thing about writing is that it really does change things. To write or not write isn’t a random choice of fruit for me, it’s a choice with consequences. When I write down what I am thinking, it becomes real in a way that is hard to describe, but very serious.

woods and undergrowth, van gogh

When I write, I can tell truth from a lie. When I speak, this is not always so simple. But under the stark restrictions of the shape words make on paper, things that are not right squirm on a page like snakes, whereas when I speak, almost anything could be true or not true, because the words come from my mouth, which reports from my dreaming brain. I have no idea what my mouth might say at any given time; what it hooks into is behind a curtain.

When I speak, I am an audience member; I really don’t have any way of knowing what is coming next unless I have prepared my remarks. But when I write, I do it with my hands, and my hands only know what is or can be real. They don’t intentionally deal in fiction.

My hands have the gift of making things real, as well, but only if they were properly configured to work in this time and space in the first place. Things that cannot survive in this world do not pass through my hands unremarked; I could let them go past, but they would be lies, or fiction, which I do not deal in intentionally. Of course I am easy to fool, like a toddler, or a dog. Hard to lie to, but easy to fool.

When I write in the boxes of my calendar, I raise the beams of the future; I fill them in with my physical presence, and the adventures I have become part of the fabric of my life, or I cancel, and the skeleton of possibility in my timeline collapses.

Or waits.

Or vanishes, as if it never was dreamed in the first place.



The painting is a little-known van Gogh that is probably stuffed in the attic at the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. No one seems exactly sure. I’ve posted it before, but I want to look at it again now. It matches my day, cool, rainy, surreal. This painting captivates me, and I dream of seeing it. Next time I am in Amsterdam, I am going to try.

5 thoughts on “writing

  1. Speaking vs writing. Sometimes I’m disappointed in what I say because I might be communicating part of the process of forming an idea or making a decision rather than a solid end product. Writing things down tends to help me tame the teeter totter in my brain and give me more control. Isn’t it too bad we don’t always back space and delete the spoken word before we Enter! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kate.

    • I’m sure he would be pleased. You know, while he was alive, no one showed the slightest interest in his “strange” paintings. I think he sold one painting in his lifetime?

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