How to Write? Don’t… At Least Not Yet
Johanna Hedva Offers a Poetic and Unconventional Guide to Craft
“I enter into a dead end. There, all possibilities are exhausted; the ‘possible’ slips away and the impossible prevails. To face the impossible—exorbitant, indubitable—when nothing is possible any longer is in my eyes to have an experience of the divine.”
How to Write:
How to Fall Asleep:
Pray to God.
How to Pray to God:
Cover yourself in the oleaginous void until there is only a depthless black that slithers through the universe of yourself, spine to Kuiper Belt, and then sing, sing!, with the infinite voice from this place, which is a cave and a glacier and a desert and an ocean, for God is nothing but and.Cover yourself in the oleaginous void until there is only a depthless black that slithers through the universe of yourself.
How to Sing the Infinite Void:
It’s easy, just surrender to it, and it will rush in to surround you with its good music, it’s so kind that way.
How to Surrender:
This is tricky. It’s hard to get right. Ask your mother. She knows.
How to Talk to Your Mother:
Don’t call her Mother. Speak the Via Negativa. Sell your hair for a mirror. Fill the cave of yourself with nothing and let this nothing come alive with what it needs and the blissful certainty that it will get it, yes, it will get it. (The face of nothing is a mother’s face.) Don’t call her Mom. Research poverty so that you can defend it. Decode the moon by losing the cipher you used to decode it. Think of an oyster, not what it makes inside itself, but what it loses in order to make this, namely, every other part of itself, although the bit of dirt that originated the new thing, this, this becomes itself, and yet, this does not have a name. Let moths infest your clothes and don’t throw them out but know their holes. Study her natal chart, understand her detriments and dignities, exaltations and falls, especially her Moon. Calculate her Hyleg and Alchochoden so that grief won’t crack you in two when she dies suddenly, know, perceive her death, prepare for it, make it its bed, call it in. Tattoo yourself with the last image she sent you, with the last thing she ever wrote—the word fog. (As least, we think this is what it said.) Don’t call her Mama. See your death in hers, your birth in her death, the little door in her that you went through, which was never afterwards closed. You can call her by her name but only so that it will eclipse your own. Let it eclipse your own. Don’t ask her why she named you what she did. She will say she named you after her mother and her mother’s mother, but this is not a name, this is a clock, this is an asymptote, this is a school. Talk to her all the time, with everything you ever say or write or do or dream, talk to her, thank her, punish her, erase her, keep talking, you’ll never run out of things to speak if you know that by speaking you are bringing your mother her freedom, which is to say her nescience of you. Don’t talk of your love for her. She will know you’re lying. It’s because she taught you how. To love, to lie. Which is to say to apprehend God.Calculate her Hyleg and Alchochoden so that grief won’t crack you in two when she dies suddenly, know, perceive her death, prepare for it, make it its bed, call it in.
How to Apprehend God:
Become pregnant with nothing.
How to Give Birth to God:
Become pregnant with nothing.
How to Know the Name of God to Unknow the Name of Knowing that Nothing, a Nothing Which Is a Something:
Consider that some other words for pregnant are parous and parturient and enceinte, which also means to be enclosed behind a fortress wall, and gravid, which also means full of meaning, and let me remind myself that when I say the word pregnant, when I say the word nothing, I am speaking to the ontological conundrum of darkness, that most basic metaphysical dilemma: that a nothing is a something. Which I have found can also mean a something that is a nothing.
How to Become Pregnant with Nothing:
“How to Write,” excerpted from Minerva the Miscarriage of the Brain by Johanna Hedva. Excerpted with the permission of Wolfman Books. Copyright © 2020 by Johanna Hedva.