Bear with me on this one. It is often considered pretentious and conceited of a writer, especially one just starting out, to write about writing, meta-writing. Some days ago it occurred to me just how invested I am in writing. I think this is not an entirely good thing. You should not tie your identity to something that invites itself to external scrutiny, and consequently validation, like writing. I am unable to tear myself away no matter how hard I try, and I have attempted to on many occasions. Sooner or later, I always slither back to a pen and a paper or to a keyboard. I still cannot say to what end I do this, what goals I have in mind. A distant fantasy of mine is to win the Caine Prize. I look at what I have and look at what the writers who are shortlisted and who win have… The delete button has never looked so inviting.
I was talking with an old flame recently and she said that my work is like that of “hundreds of other blogs”, that it was not diverse, apparently I only write about my sexual conquests (I would hope a reader would see beyond the tangle of limbs), comparing it to her own less profane and less “big-worded” work. The unsaid thing here is that her writing is better, which I have not read a lot of , so I would not know. My first reaction was to tell her
to fuck off to show me, safe in the knowledge that she would have nothing on me. A juvenile smugness warmed me up as my fingers twitched to send her a snarky reply. Instead, I breathed, and walked away.
However, something came unmoored in me. In a world with endless words, what benefit is there to add mine to the cacophony, to the growing chaos that bends and sways so blindingly fast, forgetting most of everything in its path? I could say I have not yet found my voice, and that is why I write, but there is the lingering thought: if I do find it, find a cadence I can vibrate to, will it be really mine, and if I do, so what? How do you know the thoughts you have are your thoughts? And, even if they are yours, do they matter, will they matter? A friend of mine shared this a while back and it was a great comfort then as it is now. What young writer does not want to be encouraged to keep at it? I go back to it in times of small despair, like now, but this time it feels too easy, a too simple solution to what I am going through.
I have allergies – dust, pollen, certain perfumes and smokes. A gift from my maternal grandmother. You should be there when my mother, sisters and I have a simultaneous flare-up. A big brass band trying to reclaim its footing sounds less noisy. Even when I know the antihistamines I swallow will take a bit of time to kick in, I cannot help but almost write them off as ineffective. It has been more than twenty minutes! Why am I still sneezing? And this is the problem: I am still, after all these years, finding it difficult to be patient with myself. One could argue that in a life so fleeting and meaningless, patience is unethical, immoral even. How can you be expected to wait when the time you have, the time you think you have, slips through your fingers faster than dry sand? This is something I should work on in the coming year.