I Am/Am I?
I am a writer.
Am I a writer?
When do I go from a writer
To a waiter
Who writes as a hobby?
I'm not a waiter.
Why'd I say waiter?
What metaphor am I trying to achieve?
That's it --trying
Always just shy
Or this close.
No awards, no accolades
No published work
And I'm thirty.
Not an ingenue
Not a new voice
Not a brilliant prodigy.
And my book is still half written
And my poems are still trite
Ever increasingly irrelevant
Because as I grow older
I fall ever away
From the people, to which
I long to relate
I am a writer.
Am I a writer?
Sometimes I wonder
Because I feel like a writer
When one line of brilliance
Hits my insomniac mind
And I cannot sleep
Until it's written
On any scrap of paper
To be found
But I wake up in the morning
And that sentence, so profound
Is gibberish, it makes no sense
Am I a writer?
I write a new word
But I hate it
The old word was better
But no longer fits
I feel like that word
Never right, never fitting
I think I lost my generation
Or maybe it doesn't exist
Because we're all consumed
With chasing fleeting
Fragments of the past
That we hold nothing
That's just ours
I am no voice
To that generation
Because that generation
Is voiceless by choice
Everyone has their own drum
And they beat to their content
They don't need a guide
So why do I still
Feel this need to fill some void
That if I write for long enough
Or say enough
Perhaps I'll find some meaning
They'll find some meaning.
I hold that flickering hope
A candle flame
I make believe it's a torch.
And then I'll swear that I'm done
I'll blow out the flame.
I'll give up forever.
And then I'll wake
And I'll pick up a pen.
Writing and I have a difficult relationship.
Our relationship has been especially difficult as of late, since my return to Wattpad. Wattpad and I *also* have a difficult relationship, but to stop this from becoming a five-thousand page tome I won’t comment, apart from: it’s *really* hard to get noticed on bigger sites, despite the quality or social relevance of your work. You submit what you believe to be your magnum opus for editor’s pick, just to get no response. So you write another magnum opus, more tailored to what you believe acceptable. Second verse same as the first. At the end of the day, I will not relinquish my authorial experimentality. If I can’t write my weird heart out, I don’t wanna’ write at all. And if I have to write what’s wanted—i.e. good girl/bad boy romances and BTS fics—then I’d just as soon relocate. BTS is great; I just feel the fic market is saturated enough without my input.
My interests lie elsewhere, in the philosophical, the spoopy, the bizarre. I’m not a romantic by nature, so that puts me at odds with WP from the jump. Interestingly enough, these interests once put me at odds with talent itself. Should I go into that yet? Why not.
I’ve written for the majority of my sorta-brief life on this planet. As a wee lass I’d scribble my fantasies. The fascination was always kind of a fixture for me. A hiatus found me a bit older, rustily returning to the game, ambitiously trying my hand at a concept a decade or so too mature for where I was at. I am convinced the result was one of the worst, most bloated acts of pretension ever committed to paper. It was AGONIZING.
The warm-up was better, a story about abused animals turning against humanity. That one was neat. But this one—an endless diatribe packaged as a character study, affectionately dubbed “The Love”—was unclean on a cellular level. It centered around a gritty young orphan, from losing her mother to consumption, to being snared by the streets, taken in by an orphanage, befriending a sheepish boy, and defending said boy when bullies tried to rob him. That defense culminated in a few of the bullies being killed. So by nine the co-protag is a killer, hauled in to a sanitarium, and forced to live among every shade of mental illness imaginable. Her story elapses in tandem with the assassination of the country’s king, and the ascent of his young son to the throne after spending his early childhood in hiding. A royal ball is thrown and Warri, the co-protag, manages to escape the sanitarium and attend. It’s there she actually talks with the young king, and they strike up a bond. But the king is soon arranged to marry another girl, who’s really spoiled and bratty. A bunch of stuff happens, that I don’t care to remember. The spoilt princess ends up dead at Warri’s hand, igniting the ire of her father. To save his mother in exile, and of course the guilty party Warri, the young king gives himself over to be punished for the killing. But at the last minute Warri steps in and rightfully takes the rap. And they bid their farewells as she’s flown away to prison.
The concept, as mentioned, is decent. Flawed, but decent. The story...is mostly just flawed. Younger me seemed to conflate “wise writing” with “endless big-worded rambling” so that’s what you usually got. Younger me also seemed to conflate descriptions of nature (and the neverending onslaught of metaphors and similes it entailed) with...prodigious writing. And that’s okay to an extent. I’m not one to knock a good metaphor. But when you spend like thirty pages describing the sky, it tends to wax tedious. The sky descriptions were probably longer than the actual scenes they encompassed. Though I don’t know for sure. It’s been a small eternity and I’m not going back to check. I know characters did like to monologue, so it might’ve been a tossup. Adults liked to monologue. Children liked to monologue. I think there was even a toddler that monologued, and no, I am not making that up. Younger me tried to naturalize it by playing her off as a genius. In reality I just couldn’t write for a toddler. I also couldn’t write for nine-year-olds. Or adults. Or humans in general.
The interactions were probably mind-numbing.
Another one of my problems was hoarding. That’s not often a word you hear associated with writing, but let me explain. I was a hoarder of sentences. I’d describe something decently, and be so impressed by my own description that even if there were two other close-proximity descriptions describing the exact same thing...I’d still keep the third, and fourth, and fifth. That was probably more of an ego thing, in hindsight. Imagine! A girl so young stringing sentences together so beautifully! Sure, she’s saying the exact same thing over and over, but every iteration is so majestic we don’t care.
I filled so many notebooks with this story. I should probably apologize to the trees for that.
Hopefully my wordletting helped expel the cringe from my system. It didn’t expel all of it, by far. Cringe runs deep for a young, aspiring author. I tried my hand at a bunch more stories, but they usually fizzled out before the end. I could complain about those too, but then this post would balloon to unnerving lengths and I think it’s already ballooned enough.
Instead I’ll just leave you with this factoid.
The first sentence of The Love mentions the sun. I think it’s setting. Rising? Setting? Whichever one it was, I got the direction wrong. Either the sun was rising in the west or setting in the east (I still had to look up which ways were right, ngl).
So if openers are supposed to be indicative of things to come—this one succeeded.
Whenever my high horse discovers stilts, I have to remind myself that for every “the gunmetal sky was already beginning to tarnish” I still have ten ‘suns rising in the west’, so to speak. I’ll stumble across the dumbest mistakes, which shall in turn re-rouse the adage of a wise philosopher: “Sit down. Be humble.” (Kendrick Lamar)
(Oh. And the genius toddler was Warri. Warri was a genius.)
Some writes are planned out methodically,
Others are the baffling consequence of instinctually pleasureable acts.
Some are cared for optimistically, dotefully,
Washed gently and swaddled in adorable fuzzy-blanketed lines,
Well nourished with the most healthy, natural phrasing possible
(depriving the responsible writer of caffeine and alcohol)
Only to repay the (now hope-shattered and incredulous) conceiver
with Endless Grammatical Screaming For No Apparent Reason,
badly timed pukey rhyme,
numbly depressing silence,
And we’ve all been ashamed of the spoiled ones of course:
Those puffed up snippets of bratty good-for-nothings,
Flattered into a puerile delinquency by pompously proud pamperers.
...Surely no writer wants that.
Neither do we want to stifle or restrict them too much,
Regurgitating nothing but automatons of traditional verse...
Verbally battering our innocent new thoughts into submission...
Nay, we must (at least occasionally) allow them to play.
Even when they are comprised of rambunctiously beastly ideas,
(Ideas which jump up and down for attention; distracting the writer from very important cleaning which needs to be accomplished in a timely manner; preferably before the in-laws arrive for the holiday and realize what an idiotically sappy artistic slob their son married... But I digress.)
Because one day you’ll look up from your egotistical musings and regard these things (...these separate entities which can no longer be reasonably considered a part of you...) in a realistic but tender light.
And you’ll scarcely believe that such wonderous creativity could possibly have had it’s origins in your disagreeably imperious and paltry-thoughted pen.
Indeed, you start to entertain the notion that it is an arrogance to assume that you created them at all.
In the end,
Though they may turn out to be nothing more than an indecipherable mix of embarrassing honesty, chaotic energy and brashly-flung sentimentality,
It is never really a choice;
To create them,
Or to be proud of them.
It’s like going to the doctor
for a physical
and them handing you a plastic cup
when you just peed
in there restroom while waiting
with your pants down
and the faucets on full
thinking of waterfalls
and still coming up dry.
Don’t they know
all you need is time to refresh
relax and drink fully again from the cup of life
to let your ideas flow
Words dont come
Like they should
How they should
How I wanted
What I said
How I said it
Not what I said
No one sees
No one cares
Should I write
Words need saiding
I need saiding
Get it out!
No one to listen
I write to express my incoherent feelings so as to not scream my feelings from the rooftops.
The Cost of Writing
‘Writing this from my desk at home, free to take the liberties of a patient’s inconsequence, my only care to the object of this my gratitude, am I aware solely of the responsibility to the artist’s code to truth. If I am correct in thinking our mutual interest lies in each of us as the other’s subject, in that the sense of being a doctor is in your having patients, and that the patient without a doctor is but an animal in its natural state of dying—’
The pen came a weak cropper, “you’re doing it again. I’ve told you a hundred times you can’t write like this, it’s not going to work!” The ejaculation was loud, but no one was in the room. A yawing moan began me once more, “You don’t have it in you, remember that. Look at it, the whole thing, bungling and confused.” Frustration became disgust: “There’s no time left to be a poet; you have to forgive yourself of your plainness.”
I stood up from the desk and rolled the page into a familiar shape—even in this simple action did I feel like a used-up effort. I was looking for the words that save, the ones that if finely borrowed might offer some salvation; for the sake of my lesser parts of course, but also for the disease that was travelling the straits of my blood, devouring them each in sickness.
“What do you want from me? I know it all so well, and still, I must try to deliver myself of some little brilliance.” I did honestly believe this but for the part of me that felt it was at the same time suing for some conviction. The doubt won me over, as it had so many times before, “okay, I cannot carry it off, I know, yet my hand can’t unlearn the affected note.” Here was an ill-conviction of the lowest order. I snapped back, “there you go again! You just did it. Afraid of who you are. Remember, there is no immortality hiding in these bones. Enough with the pretensions, you are in the open, and we can all see.”
If it happened that someone was in the room with me at this exact moment, though they might possess the keenest intuition, they would not have been treated to the preceding scene. Instead, for all their fast attention, they would have witnessed nothing more than the figure of a twenty-year-old boy hunched in the corner of his bedroom, wheezing and shifting his discomfort onto either haunch; an unsteady and leaning form, which after letting out a groan of sorts, arose awkwardly to scrap a mostly blank sheet of paper.
But then again, this is pointless to mention because no one was there; there to remark my clumsy movements, there to discern the violent intercourse playing out in my mind. And soon enough, as in few hours and a car-ride to the hospital soon, I too would cease to be there; the living hour to be stolen from me by my own body.
Standing now in the finish of that internal address, below me on the desk, the vacancy made by the torn page revealed a likeness in its place:
‘When first the conviction to write you seized me, as I set to the order of that high task I had still to learn all the expressions my gratitude was to take, and that number soon growing to an ever-larger count did I begin to wonder not what I would say, nor even how I should say it, but rather, how I could say it. How could I dare your approach? A man, after all, who I owed too much, and if offered nothing less than my most effacing humility would his labors deeply offend.’
The fresh reading awoke a sudden fondness for the forgotten letter: before my very eyes the tombs broke open and saintly fragments walked around in new life. I turned back the pages, reacquainting myself with the visages of the dead.
‘While I do enjoy freely writing to you and giving full standing room to my meandering ways, and while I can be fairly accused of burning the wick a little too slowly for patience, to whatever difference it amounts, I am not trying to be unnecessary with your attention—’
“Why is this here? You know what kind of man he is; he won’t be impressed with preamble. It’s nonsense, the posturing of an amateur—”
Despite these best efforts from my eternal detractor, I was not put off so easily. More, was I even intrigued, determined on to yet another resurrected reading. I tore around the room with notebook in hand, greeting again my handsome corpses.
‘You have supplied me plentiful the lessons of your grand manner which seeks the cut-and-dried above all, in all, as the highest prize of your official affairs. It is a mastery to behold your working of brevity on me, which is all diligence and resolve, that is each day begun anew and forms the largest share of your devotion to the sick; a devotion that has been accounted for at each moment since we’ve met… And since we have met, I should also like to say with much affection how unusually sparing it has been in the use of words.’
“Alright”, I said with a smirk. There was a suggestion in this that I might be on to something. And when the proud accent was detected, and before a usual voice could emerge to refute it— “just hold on a second!”
‘There may be a special annoyance for you in what must seem like this abundant roundabout, and more in the given insult of my knowing your dislike of such indirection in the little just to ignore it in the large.’
‘Surely, adducing my inspiration—’
I loosed a heavy sigh at the overweening presence…
‘Surely, citing my inspiration for the introduction to this letter as an introduction itself suggests a certain sport, a bad attempt at storytelling whose effect might impress none in the least so much as yourself; being that it may put your wonder to the touch to know what its purpose is, and if I am not to your woe a comedian also.’
“Oh but you most certainly are, because the whole thing is laughable.”
‘You can openly trust there is no deliberate play in any of this. I am in the open, trying for this one attempt to have my best showing, to mingle together confession and passion into the delicate balance and bring these words to a greatest offering of thanks.’
“I hate you.”
This was a surprising blow, and it landed on my inattention with a considerable force; one, perhaps, that I wasn't wholly prepared for.
At this point, one might suppose that the effect of such a stroke would be very little, well with it being self-inflicted and coming from an obvious precedent spanning several long years of writing; that this, in the course of my established habit, wouldn’t be hard for me to hear any more. It shouldn’t have been, nor would it if what I read next was anything else:
‘If I have been faithful to my own promises, and by those commitments practiced a dedication in writing this letter, today then marks the day of our final encounter. I had promised myself once, that if I ever found the courage to write you for all you’ve done to try and rescue me from my ill-fate, I would repay you with some humble words of thanks—a fond departure from each other, a goodbye of sorts. I am glad that in my end, I will have done the least to return some kindness and can thereby rest knowing that through this small gratitude I have passed on what will likely be my only chance at remembrance.’
What was to be seen in this reading, which made it all the more painful to me now, was that the day of my palliation, the one that marked the last of them all in this room and in this house, the day of that final eclipse and unseasonable finish, was today. And as I had warned myself so many times before, at this hour truly, the close of my life was fast upon me; there was no time left to write as there was none left to live. And in the early hours of that morning I had just passed in pointless confusion, scrapping paper and tumbling around my room for what would be the last time, what I had for it in the end, as a result of all that maddening to and froe, was an unfinished humiliation, both of that spoken letter and of the boy who failed to produce it. There was no written testament to give my doctor, no marvelous memoir that might survive me. At the end of my all my struggle, had I never found the courage to commit my words in whichever form they came, for in every one of them did I see only the image of my ugliness staring up at me.
the words have fled,
so when I write,
I hold my pen
above the site
I wish to put the words I write
and then I wait. perhaps all night.
reader, do you see my plight?
this writer’s block is a nasty blight.
Sometimes it flows like blood unto a tube,
powerful streams quickly filling the vial.
Other times, its like prying out a tooth with a fork.
Sometimes, its every word is a joy, every paragraph an achievement.
On other occasions, every letter is deleted, and no sentence looks right.
Some days, it feels like I was born to do this.
Other days, I doubt whether I will ever "make it" at all.
Its the most fulfilling thing I've ever done and the most frustrating.
Why pick up a pen or turn on the laptop, time and time
and time and time and time again?
I can't form an answer.
I can't find a reason.
I do it because I must.
I love to write, when I can write. I love to be able to knit together words in a way that makes sense. But sometimes, I can't find the words. And sometimes, I don't want to stop writing. Sometimes, my stubbornness will get the best of me and eggs milk butter cheese. I always hope the right words will come back to me, and that I'll know what to say by the end of my corn potatoes bread, and if that doesn't happen, I'll continue to rice peas onions until something more appealing comes to me. But I want to do it. I want to write. I want to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing what you start. And if that means an inconsequential ice cream pancakes mass of words to satisfy the word count and my eggplant ego, then feta cheese.
A Sisyphean endeavor that gnaws at you relentlessly, tormenting; always starting but never ending. Never for the glory but to quiet the vituperations, analgesic; forever searching for the words that never seem to come. Grasping, clawing--it hungers. Exasperation, absurdity. But within the chaos there is clarity.