Already, I'm rebelling at writing another post so soon.
When you learn to play or sing music, one of the most important concepts is learning to hear the space between the notes. Unlike most other forms of art, musical notation includes special symbols for those spaces, called, quite logically, "rests". If you don't read music you might not know that rests come in the same denominations - or, more accurately, time divisions, as musical notes. So there is sound, and non-sound, of one whole beat, half a beat, a quarter, a sixteenth, and so on. In solo pieces, rests give space for the performer to literally breathe, and help give both shape, and a sense of beginning and ending, to phrases. In ensemble pieces, rests tell you where to play, and where to sit and wait while other voices are developing and expressing musical ideas. If you are a tympani player in an orchestra, your score is likely to denote rests that go on for pages and pages - long enough, in the words of a former choir director of mine, to "go out for a short beer!"
Rests in music, like the blank areas in a drawing, or the cloud that passes over the moon, are there for a reason: they heighten what happens around them, and they also make us think about absence, about the negative in a world that seems to be all about sound, or about marks on paper or canvas. In writing, we learn to allow space to enter through our control of voice and tone, using various structures like punctuation, length of phrases and sentences, repetition and surprise. What we're trying to do - and it isn't always easy - is to assert a little control over how our words are "heard" or experienced in the head of the reader. But our control only persists during the reading itself. We don't know whether our words have had their one bright and shining moment, or if perhaps they'll hang around, glinting from the shadows of the afternoon, or the next day, enticing the reader to circle back, like a crow, and pick the coin up out of the pile of fallen leaves.
I feel a responsibility to my words: a responsibility to give them life as thoughtfully as I can, bringing what I know of the craft of writing together with the whole person I am at the moment of utterance, and also to give them some space to live and to breathe. If I were able to hand you a piece of paper on which my words were written, you might sit down with it and, out of respect and kindness, read carefully and slowly. You might fold the paper and put it in your pocket, to be taken out later, un-creased with the side of your hand, and read as you sit with a cup of coffee or tea. But because I am writing for this medium, you will read all or part of what I've written here, and move on, just as I do when I'm reading online...on to the next bit of writing, or the thing you've forgotten and just remembered to look up, or to check your email.
I risk losing you if I don't post often. I risk losing myself, and the rests between my words, if I post too often.