Monday, November 29, 2010

To write

Whenever I ‘decide’ I am going to write I always fail. I will clear my throat, push my chair forward and pick up the pen, staring at my paper. The first sentence always comes easily, it’s anything. A thought that pops into my head. A fluid line that someone once said to me. Where it comes from I am uncertain but there it sits, lonely on the page. Following the first sentence is the difficult part. And so, after half and hour I am left with a paragraph that looks foolish and I ridicule myself and screw up the paper.

Proper thoughts and ideas that turn eventually to writing form in my mind on the edges of sleep, while I am selecting a courgette at the supermarket or starting absently at a vase of flowers. It will suddenly come to fruition and I will be seized with an urge so great, so overwhelming that I find anything, a napkin, a receipt, a business card and furiously scribble, afraid that the idea will escape like cigarette smoke out the car window. I am happy for anything concrete that will capture a vague or foggy outline that has been brewing in my mind.

The idea must be followed up. A wisp on an idea scribbled on a torn napkin will lose meaning if it lefts for days, weeks or months. What was once an urgent idea quickly becomes a random formation of words and the idea is be lost forever, or until the next time I am staring absently at a courgette.

I know it is foolish when I ‘decide’ to write. Why force myself into a fruitless writing process that leads to frustration and tears? Why write inane and cumbersome words if all it leads to is bad writing? Because I couldn’t not. Because I feel like a lazy writer most of the time. Sometimes the ‘idea strike moment’ is a hazy memory of the past and desperate for anything I will fill line after line of my book with terrible writing.  Because even though the writing is sometimes terrible, it feels right.

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