W.R. Marshall: Newtown, Connecticut
I lie to my third grader so she can sleep, I can’t. A lie that says nothing bad happens here, there are no bad people here—the lie melts away as soon as it’s spoken; not because it’s a lie, but because a lie needs words, and there are no words.
The hum is everywhere as we search for an explanation; something to cling to, anything. There is nothing. Horror doesn’t yield to explanation, and Kurtz’s last words echo forever.
For days we have spoken about the many things we can speak of, because the single thing, the one thing we must speak of, simply can’t be put into words. We move around it, sometimes cautiously, sometimes with bluster, but never with the calming certainty we all so desperately need.
It isn’t there—it never will be.
Maurice Blanchot bore witness to the Holocaust, to that unspeakable void which denies sensibility, which escapes reason. He peered into that impossible darkness, not for an answer, he knew none existed (not for that, not for this), he knew there is only the horror. He lived, we live, at the edge of this thing without reason, he struggled, we struggle, against the disaster, which will always be present. There is nothing to say, but something must be said, Blanchot said: “When to write, or not to write makes no difference—whether it happens or not; it is the writing of the disaster.”
Disasters write themselves.
That disaster still reverberates, this disaster stuns, overwhelms, deafens. We can’t speak because we can’t hear—we don’t want to hear, why would we? So we shout to drown out the terror.
Some things just are.
There are no pieces, no moving parts to this thing; no way to see what it really is. It rejects our attempts at understanding, it repulses us. It is a monolith of an unknown substance and no matter what we think or say or do, it will forever remain silent. No matter how far we run from it, it’s always there, sometimes in our periphery, sometimes right in front of us, but always—and we say as much not speaking about it as we do when we raise our voices.
We are left broken hearted, confused, grief-stricken, finding the little solace we can, wherever we can. Hold those you love closely, it’s all we can do…there is nothing to say