Triggering Reflections

From time to time, I scroll through old posts on this and other blogs I’ve written. That experience can be like igniting memories from cold embers that couldn’t sustain the heat of recollection without help from an accelerant.

This morning, I read a short “ruminations” post, from earlier this year, that spoke of carrying broken branches to the edge of a cliff to throw them off, but finding myself unable to do it because they looked like frightened children who had been separated from their parents. Instead, I wrote, I left them at the edge of the cliff, “hoping the wind would do what I could not.”

I remember my emotions when I wrote that—what I saw in my mind’s eye. I can still recall, quite vividly, what was going through my mind when I wrote it. The post was a metaphor for an emotion saturated with rage had I written it without that device. It was cold, dark anger I could hide only through metaphor. No one who reads the piece could know what prompted those words, but when I read them this morning, it was like reliving what I felt that day. That happens quite a lot with me. Words I write may (or may not) seem simple and straightforward to someone else reading them; they may adequately describe a scene or a person’s face or hands or stance, but they say much more to me than to another person reading them.

One day, I suspect the memories from whence certain of my writings spring will dim and ultimately may be extinguished entirely. For that reason, I plan to write my own author’s notes from time to time to explain the triggers for pieces that are, to me, highly emotional but, for others, probably are not (or which are simply confusing). I’ve created a folder in my “Writing” directory as a start. Today, I’ll write about the trigger for that post.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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