So much of writing seems to me, increasingly, to be linked with an understanding of judgment. More precisely: with one's incessant judgment of oneself. More precisely still: with the necessary cultivation of a state in which judgment is suspended or deferred, a state in which that part of the mind which crowlike caws "this is awful" or "what clichés you are producing!" is temporarily waylaid and silenced. And yet, not so as to produce an unthinking, unconscious mess. The act, then, of being generous with oneself. Understanding and forgiving. Of knowing and repeating, to the mind itself, that we all, and it, make innumerable mistakes, constantly. That all our produced representations are impartial and imperfect, and that it must, in spite of all this, go on: that it must feel free within its own land of play, its deserted night garden, and will only be remonstrated, perhaps, later, in the morning, and if so, then, still lovingly.
It is thus a very localized part of the mind which must be silenced. That part which allows the free play of doxa must be coaxed and reassured, while being at once limited and directed into appropriate pathways. The part which must be silenced is our endless extrapolation of others' opinions about us, the "what will they think of it" reflex, which is intricately interlaced with our internalized "what do I think of it", the latter but a partial reduction, necessarily incomplete.
And all this (reading today of Elizabeth Browning's laudanum) is clearly redolent of the transparent linkage between writing and addiction. Various. Choose your drug. From hash to wine to tobacco to coffee to cocaine, all intervene, for so many in the poetic and fictional Republic, in order to sever the incessant judging voice, which can be silenced without these aids, and part of pushing through into a mature understanding of these processes is most certainly learning to do without the artifical scissors which make us feel free. This is not a condemnation of artificiality. Merely - pushing into this space without aids, if only to create a greater awareness, and possibly, a more cogent, deeper work still, which bears everywhere within it the traces of a struggle, against the distinct possibility that it could not have been.
For if the remembrance of the struggle is erased, or forgotten?
That the work carries traces of the battle against its own non-being is crucial. If this battle is lost or utterly masked, then surely something is lost, surely the risk of an unfettered surrealist slander (the worst pages of Lautréamont) is not far behind, and thus the fall once more into a tardy adolescence, the ever-present spectre of immaturity, which haunts some phrases like the cat-call of naivety, from the imagined critics' mouths.
The deal, then, is a toss-up between two distinct options: the decision to produce, to push on through it, ever accepting the pain of the wrong thought, the clichéd scene, the awful line, and pushing through all of it like so many vines in the densely covered pathway, hacking with a violent machete swathe of onwards in spite of that voice.
Or to stop.
Choose the machete. Choose the vines.