The Editor is on vacation. What follows is an older post. Enjoy, and I’ll see you next week.
In his interview, Andre Dubus discussed the idea that when you write you must let go of your Self. But aren’t we writing to reveal and express the Self? Isn’t the Self that which distinguishes us from all the other Selves on the planet?
Indeed it is, but imagine for a moment the difference between the windowpane and the window frame. The frame is the bracket that defines the space that is the window and holds the pane that allows light into the room. Without the frame, there can be no window, and without a window, there can be no light.
But wait: of course there is light without the window, it just hasn’t found its way into the room. The light was always there—it existed before the window was cut and will shine on long after the window has been boarded up tight. When we cut a hole in a wall we are grateful for the frame that shapes the light, but it is the light we are seeking first and always.
You are both the frame and the pane and your objective is to be that open space through which light might shine. When we begin to become enamored of our shape, our defined selves, the light begins to dim. It is as if we have taken that light that was meant to shine through us and refracted it back on our forms.
It is the same light that shines through all of us, we are merely positioned at different points in the universe, and so the light comes through shaped and shaded slightly differently. This is why we can best celebrate that which is us by forgetting that which defines us. That frame, that shape, can do nothing, can warm nothing, can illuminate nothing—but the light it permits is what life actually looks like.