There are the days when the words won’t stop coming. And then there are all the days when they don’t appear at all.
Sometimes there simply isn’t anything to say. You can fill the space with noise and distraction but the spirit is empty and the substance is hollow.
Other times, you have words exploding against the seam of your lips, battering and hammering on your mental walls in your brain but you know better than to let them out. Some things are better left unspoken. Discussed only in the language of averted eyes or heavy silences and sighs.
Sometimes there are individual words, but you cannot string them together in any meaningful way. The ghost of the shape which the words are meant to take hovers just outside your vision but you can’t bring it into focus. You try to focus on the big picture but it stubbornly remains blurry as if behind a veil. So instead you try and concentrate on the words, only each word becomes like a wayward bead – no matter how hard you try to string them, they won’t go on the silk strand in the right order.
Sometimes there are words, and the shape of their structure, and the desire to say them, but there is no will to draw them out, to unveil them in concrete form. You are so tired that you’re certain your bones could be used to anchor the heaviest ocean ship, and you wish nothing more than to close your eyes and rest at the bottom, letting everything flow past you until the ideas, the words, even your very essence is washed away into oblivion of sleep.
I wonder sometimes what becomes of all the things we ever leave unsaid. Environmental scientists and oceanographers tell us there’s a giant island of rubbish floating in the most remote part of the ocean. All the waste, the flotsam and jetsam of discarded human life that ends up in the ocean is eventually carried by the current to this ever-growing mass of waste. Are words like that? Is there a vast ocean somewhere in our minds where all the unsaid things wash away to – fragments of sentences, shards of ideas, broken words and syllables and mismatched attempts at paragraphs, all floating in a heap.
Sometimes the absence of words is a mix of these things. Today, there are ideas but no blueprint for how to assemble them. There are doubts that these are things worth saying. Maybe now is simply not the time, or maybe never is a good time to say them. Maybe they belong in the verbal trash heap floating in a silent ocean. There is exhaustion, looking for a replacement. Something to fill the silence.
So you fill the silence with noise about silence.
Featured image taken in November 2017 at Dublin Zoo.