A revelation. In a voice. The Voice on the Tape.
I’ve discussed it here many times: the tiny tape recorder the writer uses to capture the fleeting muses of late nights. And in that little spool of vinyl, a learning. A question. A concern.
I sense that I have been removed from myself, scribing emotions on the page without feeling them. The quaking wonder I feel as I move into a chapter, the emotion that plays back so completely when I read what I have written…it’s been missing. The writing may be satisfying to some extent, craftsmanlike and, at times, even thrilling. But the super-saturated feeling that brings it truly to life—gone.
The texture and smell of a great meal in person and the seeing of it described disinterestedly on paper: not nearly the same thing. I feel it in the creating. I can hear it in analog, in the playback of notes…the difference between the writer immersed and the one going through the motions. I can sense the empty air in the chapter readback that should hollow me out and leave me goosebumped.
I don’t know why this has happened. I don’t know where the emotion went. I am
detached from that essential umbilical of emotional commitment, that immersion in sheltering non-reality, that gift that lets us write the world and yet stay gloriously removed from it. And here’s the question: Can we write emotional honesty—or even represent emotional development compellingly—if we do not feel it first?
Detached from the master-class-method-acting emotionality that writing is, without that investment, we are merely writing words, as felicitous as those words might be. Can any writer really create feeling without owning feeling?
This is something I’d better figure out. And fast. Writing without emotion is, for me, not writing. Life without writing is, for me, not life.