Writing in present tense

by Kat

September 19, 2016; at womyn’s writing circle.

It’s strange not to know what to write about not writing — about not being myself and no longer wanting to write about in-between, but that demands a hope that she cannot muster.

Present tense is rather mundane until it is not and then the writing comes in an account, so that she might believe herself afterward. When the apartment is quiet, but not safe enough, and she is sitting on the floor asking a stranger to help her brain and body meet again.

When writing is a laborious exercise, it’s easier to not. When the feelings come, they pass by before they may be described, as she plays a game of 20 questions with herself: anger looks like, sadness looks like, fear looks like. But sitting in her bathtub with the lights off seems too much to be believed.

Why write about what has no perceivable conclusion that is at all satisfying? Sometimes all she can do is write the words of others she hopes to believe herself. Not writing is a scarily easy exercise when the descriptions are repetitive and concentration no longer working.

When she isn’t writing, she wonders where she is — this undefined space of not yet and right now is rather exhausting. And she cannot write her way out. Sometimes the only writing that comes is a frantic record of “I can’t believe this is happening. Do you see it too? Am I overreacting?”

When I mostly write notes to myself to contain the present — when so much of this description has happened before, it’s an exercise in realizations she never wanted to need. More pieces in the never-ending work of things coming apart, of losing — of fearing this memory will be underwhelming.

This narrative has happened before and she only writes in hopes of being believed. She documents events that seem utterly surreal in the telling. Almost laughable in the sheer absurdity of not hearing her at all. Why respond when it doesn’t even matter? Giving up on explanations, she settles for a silence marked by shaking body and fingers pressing into a keyboard.

The only writing that comes is here right now and then in the me too’s of “I know that ache.” When I believe you is still a surprising response. When the present reality is documented in frantic texts and images captured on screen — knowing that the why’s will not bring peace. They are yet another story she tells herself until sitting across from this witness; who is astounded, then sad — who seems to have more feelings than she does.

There is no poetry in this present ugly, cannot change, only survive, endure. Doing the best she can, not her fault at all.

She listens for truths she is trying to believe — hoping to reread them into existence. When there are no whys that want to stick. Only shaky misunderstandings in search of a how.

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