Avid Reader, Reluctant Writer

It has returned, that feeling, the penetrating yearning that makes me want to create. And this time it is unlike the feeling I get when I am inspired to pen down a piece of prose or a story. This is just like the time when I had wanted to become a filmmaker. Although this time it is more intense. I think it is because the yearning to pen a tale or a script that would be brought to life on screen or on stage have combined to give birth to the emotions that I am experiencing presently.

I had not expected that this feeling would ever return; this fascination with how a script so sparse, so utterly boring in its bareness can be turned into a finished creation that is jam-packed with strong emotions, subtexts, insinuations, so many gaps for reading between the lines that the viewer is left breathless at its majestic, absolutely glorious beauty. In other words, how a sparse script can be brought to life on screen and/or on stage.

A few years ago, I had been convinced with logical arguments that I cannot just do something for myself and feed myself off others’ money. A fiercely independent soul, like me, must earn its own bread and butter, along with that of its family. So I altered my career plans.

But now, increasingly, I am beginning to be pulled back into the black hole that creativity actually is. All I want to do is to write: first, it was prose, then fiction, and now it is scripts. But then, in the end, for whom I write is inconsequential. Whether I write for a publisher, my readers, for a theatre company, a production house, there is only one reason that I read and write for: myself, and only myself. To become a writer is, for me, to discover my voice; to release the torrents that gush within me; to allow the roaring underground rivers within me to form their way to the outside world. There has to be someone who will see the beauty of the landscape that I have created inside myself. There has got to be someone who can see and understand the desolate beauty of my dreamscape.

That is all this comes down to: about being unsure of whether I am prepared to take this plunge and carve out an opening for the world that resides within me, a window to the outside world that would serve as a door to the others to see what lies inside. That is where the self-doubt comes in. Am I good enough to have my writing enjoyed by readers? Is my writing appealing enough? Can I actually have a fan somewhere out there? I have all these thoughts, and unlike others in similar situations, I also possess the solution to my predicament. I think I might be one of the lucky ones, because already knowing the solution is a problem half-solved, so they say. But in my case, it is a problem quarter-solved.

As it stands, I still have to deal with the problem of writer’s block, a problem that is so real, and yet so ridiculed by numerous writers, both past and present. Writing is a 24/7 job, so complaining of writer’s block and even saying that you suffer from it is not an excuse. But what to do when your mind is racing through ideas, people, events, places at such a breakneck speed that your hands cannot keep up with it. My mind is like an undisciplined learner who yearns to learn but cannot bear the slow pace of its teachers and guides and continues to run faster than the fastest human being or animal.

It is not just the writer’s block that prevents me from writing. I have a fear too, a dread that putting down everything on paper will convert the events and incidents into cold, hard, eternal facts. Right now they are in my mind only. They are still facts, yes, but they are forgettable, easier to ignore and bury because no one except me knows these things. But once they have been written down, they are there for the entire world to read and see. Everyone would know the truth, the reality of how people are, of what goes on behind the closed doors of a family residence, the pain and sense of betrayal that a human being can hide. What we show to the world is different from what we are within; we wear masks for every occasion imaginable, and no one is ever the wiser, no one at all. Even our closest aides and confidants only know the side we choose to show them. They can manage to scratch only so many layers that form our whole being.

Nevertheless, it is the same fear that is my sole motivation to write. I have things that I need to get off my chest; I have stories that need to be told; there are people I know that the world needs to know through my eyes. The only thing stopping me is the inability to put pen to paper, a powerlessness to control my wanton mind that I cannot quite catch up with. Only practice, and habit, can achieve this, and achieve it will. A day will come, hopefully in near future that it will become unimaginable for me to end a day without having written a word, just like now it is unimaginable for me to end my day without having read a couple of pages.

 

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