Maybe you should read this?
Words fascinate me. You know this. I know this. Maybe, we both know this. But there is a word that I’ve started to appreciate, more and more. It’s not a fancy word. It’s an everyday word. A grunt in an army. You’d throw it into a sentence, toss it in like throwaway ingredient you had lying around the kitchen and you wouldn’t think much of it. Like an onion. Or a pepper ball. Or maybe a bay leaf. I’ve used this word already in the paragraph above — twice. Have you spotted it? No? Maybe you should look again. There, I snuck it in again. Saw it this time?
The word is maybe.
Maybe brims with so much potential. It sways a sentence in innumerable directions. Maybe here. Maybe there. It’s made up of two separate words may and be, both verbs, one that allows (“may”, similar to “let” as in “let there be light” but a little less authoritative “May there be light?” Meek even, some would (may) say) — and one that is intrinsic to the existence of the entire universe — be. Being is a fascinating verb in its own right. You cannot stop being, at any point, in time, in the space allotted to you. I can think of no way of not being — even in death, your body is still being. You exist as a fragment in a memory, a story, if only to fade away so it becomes (be again, a different form perhaps, but with the same nature) something else.
But you add a dash of the meekness, the polite voice asking, maybe, if I may be. Maybe the British culture’s politeness is infecting me. (“May we rule your kingdom?”) Suddenly you have a new word, a form of being, taking up space all its own; but the world of words is crowded and every story, every essay, every teacher demands you to cut down the words, every word needs a place, and every word needs a reason to exist. Within this cacophony, one word rises, asking permission to exist. It’s not a verb, it’s a compilation of two verbs but it’s forgotten its verby nature. It’s become an adverb (even a noun), but it is still there, to swing a sentence this way and that, and every time it raises its head, asking permission, it doesn’t just ask permission to exist for its own sake, but to create a new possibility. Maybe there is space for more maybes.
I think of myself as a maybe, sometimes. A whirl of energy and potential, a splash of innumerable directions starting at my footstep. Yet, each time I rise, I ask permission, meekly, submissively, to exist. Maybe I don’t need to anymore? Maybe there has always been space? Maybe I have done enough to carve it out myself? So many maybes, each one leading to a question mark. Maybe we may find an answer.
“May an answer be.” That’s all I can hope for. Maybe, I could I continue hoping. Maybe, you will too.
The above was inspired by my current read: A Writer’s Diary by Toby Litt. Toby is my professor, the one I wanted to work with when I moved to London, the one I didn’t know I needed until I met him. I was in his final workshop at Birkbeck before he moved to a different university. Maybe, life works out.
What my friends are up to
Poetry — Tony got two of his poems Lohagarh & Parts of Speech published in an English/Marathi magazine. Check it out here.
Fiction — Jack got his first publishing credit with his short story The Jump in Skulls (Issue 2). Check it out here.
What I’ve been up to
I wrote a poem using Joseph Fasano’s poetry prompt. I quite like it.
I have a job-job now, and most of my writing is currently geared toward college submissions. I got this piece out about AI short stories. Nothing more. But this year is less about getting published and more about getting lost in words. Maybe, I’ll find my way back.
Until next month,
Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!
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