Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Emptiness of Days

1. a. Holding or containing nothing.
    b. Mathematics: Having no elements or members; null: an empty set.
2. Having no occupants or inhabitants; vacant: an empty chair; empty desert.
3. Lacking force or power: an empty threat.
4. Lacking purpose or substance; meaningless: an empty life.
5. Not put to use; idle: empty hours.
6. Needing nourishment; hungry: "More fierce and more inexorable far/Than empty tigers or the roaring sea" (Shakespeare).
7. Devoid; destitute: empty of pity.

How do you depict nothing? The last couple of months have felt irremediably hollow to me, the usual platitudes offered as camouflage for grief doing nothing to assuage the emptiness of my days. The invisible losses are the hardest to overcome: the losses that hide, cavernous, behind the chaos of the quotidian. The losses that can't be described or dispelled. I've ploughed through my allotment of sympathy, I know; I'm not looking for a handout, but I have to do something.

Empty places have borders, as far as I can tell, so perhaps it's safe to assume that if you linger long enough around the edges, tossing things in, the space will eventually fill up. Nothing else seems to be working, so I'll give words a go. It's  National Novel Writing Month, with a goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. That's certainly a challenge for me. Can I do it? I don't know yet; I've never tried. But at the very least, even if they aren't brimming with meaning, my days will be full.

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