The Wisdom of Didion
By ice rivers
Inaction is the opposite of action.
I have become a man of inaction which begs the question, does writing qualify as action?
What is writing anyway; action or inaction? Is it a state of being?
I like a quote by the late, great Joan Didion as she described writing. She defined writing as an "attempt to find out what matters, to find the pattern in disorder and grammar in the shimmer."
So if you're reading this, I must have written it. If I have written it, that means it's writing. We have a relationship, you and I. Without that relationship, all is lost. If it's writing, it should reflect the wisdom of Didion.
If you're still reading, it's probably because you are engaged with the words. If you are engaged with the words, it's probably because you sense that what you're reading and what I'm writing matters to both of us. Write now, I'm attempting to find the matter that matters and I think, I'm on to something so I'll continue to write.
Still with me?
The only parts of my body that are moving at the moment are the fingers of my typing hands. I'm not burning any calories. Does what I'm doing count as action? Does what I'm doing now qualify as work? How bout you reading this now, are you in action? Are you working? Are you taking a break in your work by reading this? Are you inactive? Does reading count as work?
Does it matter? I'm attempting to find that out. I'm looking to find the pattern in the disorder that was this matter before I started looking for it. I think, I've found the pattern. The pattern is revealing itself in these very words that I am writing which you will soon be reading as perhaps you are right at this moment. I could have written about anything yet instead I'm writing about nothing other than the shimmer which I hoped would arrive when I started this particular analysis of inaction.
The shimmer has arrived. The shimmer can and should be shared. Pursuit of the shimmer is both the cause of an the reward to writing and reading.
I'm in the shimmer now. I can feel it, can you?
So now, all I have to do is apply the tools of grammar to the shimmer and the matter and the pattern in order to make sense of the disorder that was present before the first word that I wrote a few minutes ago.
Is there a beginning?
Is there a middle?
Is there an exposition?
Does it matter?
We need an ending don't we.
A powerful method of concluding is by somehow reminding ourselves of how it all started right after nothing became something.
It began with the opposite of action.
It began with inaction and posed a question.
Here's the ongoing dilemma.
Action is the opposite of inaction.
Verbs of being do not have direct objects, the y have predicate nominatives or predicate adjectives.
I am a writer. I wrote this essay.
Essay is a direct object.
This essay is I.
I am a predicate nominative.
Writing is something else, a state beyond being and action.