319: “Engaged With You” (John O’Neal)

                “When things are written down we have a tendency to treat them as more final than they need to be. […] If you, dear reader, were sitting here I wouldn’t be bent into the computer keyboard staring at the screen typing or editing what I’ve already written. I would be engaged with you…”
                -John O’Neal, “Story Circle Process Discussion Paper”

                What with the pandemic and being so isolated, and with spending so much time in writing, I think I’m trying to layer back in all the shades that go into experience. Right now I’m trying to put these words together. I’m also lying down on the couch in my apartment. Outside the leaves are swinging. Watching them it’s almost like I can hear their rustling, and now I went outside for a moment to actually listen. The sound of them is like cloth, like smooth felt all through the air. I could almost run my fingers across that sound.
                What I mean to say is, while writing is a place we meet (and for me an important one), I want to sit with how writing weaves through all the other strands of meeting and saying hello. I’d like to sit outside with you. I’d like to watch your face while you talk and forget what you’re saying, and then end up quiet for a little while until we start noticing all the other things we can hear.
                And of course, I can do all that. We can share all those wonderful parts of communicating and listening and being together that aren’t just communicating and listening to words. Earlier today I went for a walk with a friend. We nodded this way or that, deciding our turns. Right now I’m trying to blur the edges, to wonder how writing with its clever knots and threads can get close to the smooth felt of the leaves rustling or a walk down brick sidewalks. I’m wondering how the abstract—the recorded, symbolic—can participate in the particular, the embodied, the enchanted. I think they can support each other. To put it another way: maybe this, these words, can be a metronome while we practice a song.

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