The Hermit Poet

October 24, 2005

Aesthetic 3: Writing as Invocation

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 11:55 pm

It is an old Kabbalist tradition that should the true order of the verses of the Sepharith be revealed and spoken correctly, one could create worlds after the same fashion as this one, or raise the dead, or perform all manner of miracles. There is a force that lies within the transcribed word. To write is to record with the expectation that it will be spoken, whether solely in the mind, or audibly to the open world.

Whereas some might write to evoke a certain memory, I write at times to invoke a latent power, to awake what sleeps within the text itself. When I write, I frequently call out each line, expecting the next to appear. When I am stuck, I return to the beginning, and read each line aloud, till a momentum builds, and the next line forms even as I come to the place which is blank.

If writing is a call to the unknown within the page, or to some unseen deliverer of words, then I, as a writer, must be willing to sit in what sometimes can be an almost unbearable silence. But I have also learned, that sometimes the longer the silence, the deeper the space that will be revealed.

If writing is an invocation, then beauty must lie in the depths of the breath before and after the words. That is to say, what is beautiful in writing will long to appear on our lips. We will wish to speak it, to hear how it turns in the mouth. How it falls on the ear. How it twists in the moment of speaking and becomes something unforeseen. How even saying it brings it to some form of reality.

Writing is an invitation to the world of ghosts and memories to step into a moment. To write is open an conduit to something bigger than our own consciousness, be it the collective consciousness of Jung, or the broad world of semiotics and symbols.

One Response to “Aesthetic 3: Writing as Invocation”

  1. Michael Parker Says:

    Just this week, I was fingering through the books on one of the lower shelves of my bookcase and came across your chapbook “Yellow Earth Songs: Return to Taiwan” published by Willow Tree Press in Provo. I have this image in my head of meeting you at BYU, obtaining a copy, but so much has come and gone since that time that I don’t know details, whether that image is accurate.

    Anyway, I thought well enough of your opening poem of Earth Songs that I googled your name this evening to see if you were still writing poetry. I came across “Adrift” published at Prairie Poetry; an excellent poem!

    And this is a wonderful post, from the naming of the kabbalah’s insight to your line “Writing is an invitation to the world of ghosts and memories to step into a moment.” Amazing.

    Best wishes to you.

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