A couple of weeks ago when Emma Watson made her “stirring”, “game changing” , “nope- not really-a-feminist speech” speech at the UN to launch her #HEforSHE campaign, I was inspired! I was feverish with desire to post a piece about Feminism. And I wanted to do it right. I took out my notepad , wrote down what I wanted to say , researched ( re Wikipedia-ed) the shit out of it. I was brimming with ambition and righteousness. After months of being blocked and without having anything worth writing about – I finally had found something ! This was a subject close to my heart and one I whole heartily believed in.
I just lost the desire to finish it. It just petered out. I felt it leave my body like a cushion slowly running out of air. Fffzzzzttt. Gone. And I was left blinking like a deer caught in the headlights.
I mean I went as far as actually writing it down as a draft and that’s where it has remained now for two weeks.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit on the typewriter and bleed”
Aaahh… The Draft box.
How I loathe thee.
Skeleton Coast of my dead inspiration and unrealised ambition! How many times have I thought and felt something stirring within and sat down to write and then left it there. Unfinished. Sentences and interrupted thoughts, just waiting to be finished. Mocking me . Doubt , doubt , doubt is all that remains and I quietly close you Draft Box and weep with frustration.
I’ve gone through my Draft box trying to figure out and decifer the mystery of why I cannot finish any of my essays or pieces.
I have come up with the following :
* wanting to write something after I’ve read a piece or article I found profound or moving and trying to write whilst still inspired by it
* doubting my prose or the structure of my piece
*trying to copy somebody else
This I’ve found is the greatest obstacle. It just zaps my creativity. It stops me from thinking clearly and challenging myself and I end up with whatever regurgitated drivel I’ve tried to copy. It’s probably guilt too. I know how hard it is to try and put something out. And I deserve to be blocked when I’m trying to copy somebody else. And those drafts deserve to linger right where they are.
I want to write. Of that there’s no doubt. Its finding my voice that’s the hardest part for me.
I’m probably going to have thousands of drafts and hopefully they will get less and less and I’ll end up with great stuff.
Inspiration where art thou?
Because I really need to write that piece on Feminism.
“He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed ,like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. And each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage , having become a little heavier , a little weaker , but still pumping. And by midafternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else , to be someone else, someone else somewhere else. ”
This passage floored me. I read it and re-read it and underlined and circuled it. So beautiful. So true. I felt everything this character was feeling. This lovely passage is from Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Everything is Illuminated”. Although his prose is dense and at times downright difficult , the story gets you and stays with you. The book is about Jonathan who goes in search of a woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis during WW2 in Ukraine. On his journey he is aided by a blind driver , a crazy seeing-eye dog , who’s in love with our dog fearing hero and Alex who is a terrible translator but has a heart of gold and a head full of dreams.
It’s a truly wonderful and quirky book. Read it.
I haven’t posted much because I’ve been reading! Whenever I’m feeling low or uninspired I turn to books. These are two of my absolute favourites ! Enjoy 🙂
The Easter Parade:
I discovered Richard Yates all by myself when I stumbled upon The Easter Parade on a lonely bookshelf at our library. It was one of those serendipitous moments when you just *know* it’s going to be great and possibly life changing. What struck me the most was the cover. The worn dresses and tatty shoes spoke volumes about the lives of the sisters therein and when I read the first line ,well, I was hooked. “Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life , and looking back it always seemed the trouble began with their parents’ divorce” Despite the bleak narrative I kept hoping that since this is a book after all, maybe there’s some sort of happy ending. There isn’t . Sarah and Emily Grimes are sisters who are both disappointed by the choices they’ve made in their lives. Sarah – beautiful and conventional marries and bears children with a man who beats and abuses her emotionally. Emily- independent , free spirited and intellectual has a series of disappointing love affairs with unsuitable men. It begins in the ’30’s when they are children and goes all the way to the 70’s with Sarah’s death. It mainly revolves around Emily as the main character. It’s a savage and bleak look at sibling rivalry and children growing up with an “unhealthy” divorce and a terrible mother. And how fathers really influence girls.
We first meet April and Frank at the tattered end of their marriage when they are exhausted by work , children and their own unfulfilled dreams. They are have that shell shocked how-did-we-get -here look and wearing their disappointment very heavily. Before they moved to Revolutionary Road they were living in that rarefied air of smugness that newly loved up and newly married people have. They can’t believe that they are actually moving to suburbia! They’ve always been above it all : they are special and different they live their lives according to a higher purpose. How wrong they are! Soon the children , bills , nosey neighbours and forced smiles bring it all crashing down. The lies they tell themselves so that they keep up the facade of happily married is devastating and leads to affairs and a tragedy. Nobody writes about disillusionment and disappointment quite like Yates. It’s searing and cuts you deep and it’s very rewarding. Read them! Later!
If you are like your stories weird , may i please recommend to you this wonderfully weird tome. It is at once a detective novel , a look at a disintergrating marriage , a study of a man who is … Continue reading →