Essay V Equivocity and Movement

Like everything else in your environment, words come and go with the seasons. Reading involves sorting the timely from the passing. We find ourselves in the mix. Our voices help thicken the horizon of sound that greets us every morning.

We adapt our desire to survive this flux of energies with specific acts, the rules of which we discover by joining the conversations. We become comfortable with showing up in conversations that we learn to participate in. Let us call these ‘betweens’ to emphasize their dynamics. Betweens draw us into their currents, they have direction, origins and goals we can’t quite fix in so many words but which define our response to them. We come to know ourselves in these betweens.

These betweens are super abundant and differ widely in what they involve. We look in the refrigerator to see what there is to eat, we make a plan, we move ahead, drawn on by the gradually materializing situation. So we read the situation and respond creatively by meshing ingredients and our preparedness to act. This emerging event has several aspects, one of which is aesthetic.

As opposed to this model, tradition urges on us the myth of Adam. Adam faces the bountiful environment and imposes names on the flux. He defines himself as the world’s fixer. His will contrives to master the energies flowing from the Creation. It’s a matter of not letting matter take over. Pride pushes humility aside. The story of humanity against all begins. The earth becomes disposable, degradable and degraded. The story of progress had no inkling that the earth might have other ideas bwe now struggle to name that. The names spread confusion. But we must get involved in reducing the confusion so that we can act on a scale proportionate to the challenge. We need good writers now more than ever.

Lu Chi wrote: “Calm the heart’s dark waters; / collect from deep thoughts / the proper names for things. // Heaven and eartn are trapped in visible form: / all things emerge / from within the writing brush.”

We can see the influence of the Adamic story but it has its truth. In some ways it is a good myth: we must be responsible to our situation. In our given betweens “all things emerge”; the Between includes the “within” of our own acts of creativity.

Within our given situation we are moved to act. Our voices mix with our fellows in the Between. The movement almost engulfs us. As we read we write.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

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