Heraclitus and Writing

Pigs delight in the mire more than in clean water. (Heraclitus, Fragment 13)

As a writer, I believe I have consistently striven to find the clean water. But striving and succeeding are two different things, and all searches begin in the fog. Hence, I concede that I may, in spite of my best intentions, have had “my moment among the pigs” — which I phrase carefully so as to protect my ego somewhat.

The worst fate of all, though, is to be the mire itself. So adamant have I been to avoid that condition, though even in this with imperfect success. I sense I am getting closer. The cleanest water attracts no pigs, no one whose heart is drawn to the mire, and indeed almost no one at all in this impure world — the world which, of course, gave birth to the writer himself.

The goal: to be water so clean that the dirt cannot recognize it at all, while even the cleanest approach with hesitation. The best writer would, in theory, have no readers, though in practice a few clean souls may find and peruse his words, perhaps beneficially. 

But, one might ask, if soul is fire, then why should the writer dream of being the clean water? It is transitional, intermediary.

For it is death to souls to become water, and death to water to become earth. But water comes from earth; and from water, soul. (Heraclitus, Fragment 36)

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