Is Vulnerability to Inherited Vices and Weaknesses a Considerable Issue?

We love our inherited families, mostly. Love reigns, mostly. We suffer with them, for them, and because of them. The bond is so tremendous that it follows us even when we think we have run away.

What we observe as children at our homes — how reactions are made, responses initiated, how the air at home carries joys and disappointments, evil intentions, and aggravations — all of these influence our responses and actions at our own individual homes we create as adults. Commonly called ‘baggage’, is this inheritance all too important? Or can it be laughed off? Can a person ‘fight’ it, or is that even necessary?

Awakening

Dawn’s

Quiet glow

Mixes life

In all colours.

Happy shapes yawning.

Mussed fashions pliant, ready.

Dark depths pretend untouchable

Darkness. Pretensions diminish.

Light! Blinding, giving, revealing, whole.

Come, flow uncharacteristically.

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What motivates an individual to become a parent?

“I can’t see any reason why people would want to usher a demanding, dependent, irrational new person into their already full, meaningful lives.”

 

This is what a friend of mine wrote to me during one of our endless discussions about this and that. If she is to have a child, she says, she will have to either wait for the life she wants, or watch bits of it “washed out of the window”.

 

Although I don’t have any rational answer to this enquiry, I do feel there is an answer somewhere — perhaps different for every individual. And that, on finding that answer,  the person will hopefully be able to free their spirit of ancient social stereotypes of procreation and heritage and old-age-support.

Jumpy and Squishy Help

The pond was full of beautiful weeds. Aster sat gazing at them. Jumpy was sitting beside her, twitching his right leg a little from time to time. The sun shimmered on and rose back again from the droplets on the floating leaves. Green as the greenest moss, the leaves reminded Jumpy of his mother. All was happily quiet.

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When countless moments had passed, they saw Squishy the frog ribbiting in mild urgency at a distance. He was jumping into the pond, and out of it.

“I’ll go,” said Jumpy. He jumped on the leaves in the pond and reached Squishy in no time.

“What happened?” he asked.

“Oh, dear friend! Tuk-tuk’s bright pink shell has got trapped in the weeds!”

“Where is Tuk-tuk?”

“Oh dear, what are we to do?” Squishy was worried Tuk-tuk might dry up without her shell to keep her warm and moist.

“But where is she? In a safe place, I hope.”

“She is with Belinda. Belinda has given her her spare shell for now.”

“That’s marvellous, Squishy!” Jumpy delighted with the knowledge that they had time to take out the shell. It was all about getting past the weeds.

“Let’s go shell-hunting, friend!” Jumpy jumped, Squishy hopped, and plop they landed on the biggest lotus leaf.

“She was playing somewhere here, she was.”

Jumpy and Squishy looked and looked at all the places in the pond where snails liked to slide about. And then, Squishy saw something pink glimmer.

“Here it is! Look, amidst those lovely weeds there!”

“So it is!”

Jumpy jumped to the nearest lotus leaf and tried to lift the shell up, but it was stuck in the weeds’ embrace. Squishy tried, too. Then Jumpy, and then Squishy again. It wouldn’t come off!

“What are we to do? Oh, dear, dear!” Squishy was worried again.

“Don’t worry, Squishy, you hold my back, and pull,” said Jumpy.

And they both pulled. Together, together. Soon, the weeds gave in, and the shell came out of the water!

“Aha! Here, take it to Tuk-tuk quickly!” said Jumpy.

“I will. Thank you!” said Squishy and off he hopped to where Tuk-tuk was waiting.

Jumpy looked at the water around him. Lotuses, leaves, more leaves, and weeds. All a part of their home. He sighed a deep, knowing sigh, and jumped back to Aster.

“What was the matter?” asked Aster.

“Tuk-tuk’s shell was lost. We found it,” said Jumpy.

“Oh, but that’s awful. The losing! Where did she lose it?”

“In these beautiful weeds.”

“Good you worked together to find it, Jumpy,” said Aster, stifling a yawn.

“My! You must be tired with all the gazing and waiting.”

“I am, in a way. Do you want to go play in the water, Jumpy?”

“Yes, my friend. But let’s keep to the floating leaves on top!”

And they hopped on to the pretty round leaves shining under the sun and over the calm waters and inviting weeds.

Stars

Troughs,

Valleys,

Sensations.

Fast, slow. Long, short.

Contours swell, curves fuse.

Melt, melt. Melt, melt. Melt. More.

Thirst! Insatiability.

Brand one into other. Unite.

Ignite! Roll on, slide, hot waters, slide.

Up, down. Bend, rise. Breathe, hold. Squeeze, free. Quiver.

 

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Little Miracles

 

The tiny sharks* swim right next to my computer here in a sunny, muggy living room. Their scales shine. Some are missing, leaving behind small discontinuations in the flow of things. The only remaining parrot fish has been the longest with us. It sometimes comes to say hello from behind the glass wall. Maybe we imagine it, but its eyes seem to light up, as if it’s meeting an old friend without expecting to. The mono angels are breathtakingly elegant, even as they seem cold and distant.

When I look to my right, their huge tiny world is at my arm’s reach, inviting me to take a quick head-dip and melt away all the cobwebs that my own huge, tiny world washes into my head like flotsam. Now that I am older and meaner, I am less spunky, too. I’ll not pick up a stool and lift up the aquarium cover to dunk my head into their world, even though the prospect is bloody inviting. But I can picture it, and smile.

Though these perceptible, sometimes tangible miracles receive love and approval, it is somewhat tragic that the ones going on inside our heads — all of our heads — are either misunderstood, or overlooked. I have been a witness to numerous instances of human downfalls recently. Some of them have been physical, some psychological, others intellectual and emotional. In short, I have seen fellow beings drowning into temporary or longish or fatal abyss of all kinds. The ones who have made it back to the top and have been breathing since — whether fumbling or sputtering is irrelevant — are the miracle-carriers I am talking about.

My diligent research about how our mind works gives a

breath-taking outcome. The innumerable electric signals that pass through our brains every second can get stymied by any one or some of the innumerable parts of the rest of the body. If the signals get blocked or short-circuited because a part of the brain is distended or dead or mulish because some hormone produced somewhere is acting pricey or corny, what’s a body to do?

When you look at your loved one the next time, the one who forgets things or gets angry or sleeps until the cows come home or seems to love the sound of his voice, imagine the little circuits in his brain acting up. The fact that the person is functioning and making use of his or her existence in whatever way he or she can is a tiny miracle giving you the privilege of audience.

The brain directs actions according to your mental resilience. Even if your synapses decide to take a walk, if the rest of you wants to bring them back, they jolly well will. And that is what this achievement is about. When the body is weary and wants to give up because there isn’t any energy available even though it pulses through your body, you make it available. You order it to come and lift your limbs.

There are many such miracle-workers around us. The ones who rise above their physical inabilities and see the sun set. Most of us, however, also falter in spite of this magic in us. We scream, shout, go crazy, lose house keys. But that’s what being human is about.

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*4-inch cutish ones. Although, if my brother were asked, he’d say those that prowl the oceanic jungle are quite fab, too.

Rubbish

*

Well,

Do it,

You crazy

Girl. Do it, then.

Target the sky, or

Dig deep trenches underneath.

No glory or depth comes

‘Ere your garbage bin is well cleared.

Let it then be in a corner for

When your skyfall or mud needs containing.

*

*

Garden

Note to the reader: I asked you a question in my previous post, but neglected to open comments. I apologise. The error is corrected.

 

Can Writing Be Taught?

You might want to read this before responding to the question. Or not read it, just tell me what you feel about it.

 

I personally don’t think it can be taught. But it definitely can be learned with practice and time, and preferably without a single teacher. How much this particular belief of mine is going to continue to aid my inability to dish out viable reading material is anyone’s conjecture, but I am going to hold on to it with all of my life and the heavy breath that results from the endless bloody inertia.

 

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And Then, Run!

Note: I wrote the first adventure of Hari and his friends in 2011. This is the second.

 

 


 

Things aren’t so well in here. My fledgeling business is in doldrums. I thought I could leave my job and start a martial arts training outfit and make a fortune out of it. But I was wrong, wasn’t I? My confidence is waning and rum doesn’t help in these times either, especially since it is bloody difficult to say these days in Halifax when to expect rain and when shower.

It was one such day that comes and goes in my mind lately. The sun played hide and seek with greyish clouds acting the dutiful secret-keepers. — I have nothing more to do when the day is done than to think of those glorious times when I was but a boy. Sameera has gone again with Ram to her parents in the groovy Van. I miss Ram and his little tricks. He has already turned four while I have kept myself busy trying to earn us a decent living by training meat loaves. What a shame. Shame not that they pack worthless meat over their bones, but that I, the Doer of Great Things, am brought down to babying them. I have thought of leaving them all and going back to the old shine at home in India, but I couldn’t, could I? I’ve never run away. And then, there’s Ram. Loving him comes so easy. Being a father is not at all difficult. He looks so much like me, everyone says. He even does things like me. When Ma had come over, she would narrate endless tales of when I was his age and had the same habits and expressions. I like it a lot that I have passed on some of me to him, but secretly wish all of it is good.

Secrets. They were secret-keepers, the greyish clouds that hid the sun that day. We must have been thirteen or fourteen then, our toady voices had long since transformed into autonomous roars. It is funny that I do not have any mention in my diaries of that day. Maybe I thought it wasn’t worthwhile enough to mention how I made Toto run for it and how I stood there, watching him.

Those years were when I had accumulated all of the information I needed to be the wild one in my actions and in my boyish fantasies — fables and tales from the medieval Europe, mainly the Scottish Highlands, and the lives, losses and achievements of Bruce Lee and van Damme. Perhaps that’s why my ability to concentrate on the written word was fast depleting. It was action all the way.

It was a fine morning, the sun was playing hide and seek. We were out swaggering in the gali next to the huge 19th century church in the city centre, when the church bell called to me. Not call in the sense of that once-in-a-lifetime invitation for a ride to paradise, but a toll of a reminder.

“In the market-place of Bruges stands the belfry old and brown;
Thrice consumed and thrice rebuilded, still it watches o’er the town.”

 Church bells were interesting tools with fascinating mechanisms. Since it wasn’t Sunday, the church would be empty, and we could go in and explore the bell tower and I could probably show Toto and Dev a thing or two I knew.

It was easy to get inside — no one was around. We ran up the stairs and reached the place where the real stuff was — the gears and the pulley. They were such massive things!

“I bet it took at least two people to move them,” said Dev.

“No, silly. You don’t move them, you just pull at this rope here,” I caressed the thick rope, while my eyes got glued to the biggest brass bell. “Toto, come here, I’ll show you what real weight lifting looks like.”

“You’re going to lift that?” Toto said with not a little trepidation.

“Well, move it.” I knew church bells were used to summon churchlings for significant church events. I just had to hold the clapper with one hand and move the bell the size of a large bath-tub with the other. Simple. Or not.

My mighty right arm had such a formidable force, that the bell not just moved, it moved the others with it. And they pealed.

Dev was the first to first to get out, he always was. Though Toto couldn’t stop shaking in his baggy pants, he was next. I took one step at a time, easy. On the way down, I stopped at the louvres and saw people congregating. They would soon know that there was no event, really; it was just the mighty arm of the stoic champ that could take down four at once. But there was no telling how they would take the news. I had to think fast. And since I never ran from a situation, the alternative had to be something that aided my respectful stay.

“Run!” I said to my companions, and they ran.

When they were a safe distance away, Dev leading the escape, I stepped out of the tower.

“Who rang the bell?” an irate old man asked.

“He, sir!” I said, pointing at Toto. And slowly walked away.

The belfry watches over people and watches them, too. It keeps secrets, guilty ones and guileless ones. Perhaps when it tolls, it releases those tiny specs and lets them settle around in the town dust so that when people walk over it, the specs spread around like minute beacons of life’s lessons learned through the test of time. Pity, the bell tolls but rarely nowadays.

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Alchemy

Mr. G got up to lie,

Walking, forgetting by and by.

“Fie!” cried his self in the mirror.

“Let go, let go, let go until you’re clearer.”

feet

Mrs. G couldn’t wait to shoot,

She sparred like some dry dry fruit.

“Damn!” mumbled she all the while.

“Don’t know what to do with all this bile.”

feet

So carried things for years and years,

They never got rid of the underlying fears.

She wanted him to show love, you see.

He tried to get her to stop spreading debris.

feet

Never once did they remember to stop and look.

They might even take back all they’d forsook.

Simple it was, their salvation.

All it took was forsaking negation.

feet

Then one day she saw it, the magic.

Pitter patter, patter pitter magic.

It rained heavily on her, the alchemy.

She ran to the ever-waiting balcony.

feet

“YooHoo!” cried she out loud.

He responded not a little less proud.

“”YooHoo, I have a solution,” said he.

“So have I, my dear,” bellowed she.

feet

Together they ran, she down, he up.

Together they met nestling the brimming cup.

It was in the old living room they sat.

Hand in hand, not once thinking of combat.

feet

“I could see more of you,” she said.

“I could help you clean better,” he gently led.

“You say less, but do more,” encouraged she.

“You love so, and fill me up,” whispered he.

feet

Now they watch TV together.

Gardening days, too, are so much better.

He runs errands, unseething.

She hums gently a merry greeting.

feet

Their cat is suddenly enlivened.

Also sways the old tree, wizened.

Love could be missing sometimes.

But never do they cross fine lines.

feet

The missing key was simple, they knew.

You must meet I, and I you.

Magics happen of all kinds.

As three simple words “I do care” chime chimes.

feet

 

This one’s for you, Momina.

 

 

 

 

Regardless, love me.

In the mist they flowed like river never-ending,

Hollyhocks swayed with their dance,

All of it rather too eager for some tending.

Their river of love, their upright hollyhocks.

Now seemly, now threatening crosstalks.

+

Somewhere in the internet they met.

Was it Facebook or LinkedIn? We’ll never know.

They have moved past such little details so easy to forget.

They do remember every conversation,

And tell me they even recall each duration.

+

Bike rides and unlaboured activity,

Hot nights and gaily coloured days,

They  displayed many a mutually agreeable proclivity.

Love was an understood companion untended.

Unbound excitement had all niggles fended.

+

Years piled on years,

Memories happened.

Eclectic spirits transformed into beers.

“Love me just so, lover,” cooed she as always.

Never once attempting to paraphrase.

+

Soon things began to grow around their hollyhocks tender.

Thorny roses and grassy mounds.

Walking around was a trial for sniping anger.

I remember they dove insanely.

In the deep, blue angry sea.

+

“Love me just so,” blabbered she,

Remembering to put on a bright smile.

He nodded in shaky affirmation, “Regardless, love me”.

Fights, boredom, truth spreading like vines.

Guilty outbursts became lifelines.

+

Just when they decided it, it is difficult to say,

She left, he wept a little.

Forty years is a long time to be preyed and prey.

Off they went with their raggedy rides,

One out there, the other over there. Escaping emotional landslides.

——————————

 

Gosh. It took me four days to write this rubbish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you balance writing and seeking empathy (and readership)?

“I wonder what would have become of me if I had come of age as a writer during these years of living out loud. My parents were in a car crash in 1986 that killed my father and badly injured my mother. If social media had been available to me at the time, would I have posted the news on Facebook? Tweeted it to my followers as I stood on line to board the flight home? Instead of sitting numbly on the plane, with the help of several little bottles of vodka, would I have purchased a few hours of air time with Boingo Wi-Fi and monitored the response—the outpouring of kindness, a deluge of ‘likes,’ mostly from strangers?”
-Dani Shapiro

When you write, you want to know people have read it. When some do read it, you want to make sure you know how they feel about it. Even though most ‘creative’ writing is mainly meant for the writer herself — as catharsis or as a means of self-expression, where does any writing go to unless it finds a reader, who can empathise with its unique expression?

With book-writing becoming more of a technical talent demanding schemes and structures requiring training and fellowships that instruct you the best way to weave magic with words, you tend to become a little unsure of whether your natural means to that weave is good enough for the contemporary reader. Is there a way to find him?

When new-age tools like Facebook and Twitter provide the delectable carrot of a million followers, you get sucked in. Start a Facebook page, start a blog, look for followers, follow other pages, like their posts, write witty comments — preferably with a link to your own creation, spend restless hours wondering if that promised carrot is going to come to you at all.

Where is the time to really write?

So, if today’s publishers expect you to contribute to your pool of readers, how do you build upon that when Facebook and Twitter and online events are distracting you from what you actually, really ought to do?

An End.

I fear death. I fear it not in the usually brave, tame, hesitant way. I fear it with impassioned distress. 

To lose a loved one is an end of a delightful story. To see a story end when you have to continue without it, living your story without a crucial wedge to prop you up, you stumble a little; sometimes a lot.

Layla, our dog of 12 years died today and she’s left us immensely sad. 

Barely 2 months old, she came to us a sweet bundle of fluff and charm. Over the years, she became a companion to my parents and her senior FooChoo. Dogs are meant to be companions — they take that road easy, nothing new about that. But to someone who experiences their particular brand of friendship, they are irreplaceable.

Layla remains in our hearts. As we wait to bury her tomorrow in the garden she so merrily enlivened with her antics and very-dog enthusiasm, our hearts are breaking. Tonight is going to be long night.

Layla

Collecting Memories

It has either been raining or drizzling since the last 3 days. As I live through the happiness and dreariness of routine, I realise new leaflings and buds and the sprouting from the fragile, upward-looking tree that I have become. Roots remain the same, regardless.

Here’s a chain of sorts of Elfchen I normally think of when weather is the dominant stimulus in my ever-stimulated spirit.

(The draft of this post was first written almost three weeks back. It has been awfully humid since. Hence the change in tone in the Elfchen after the first one!)

 

Rise.

‘Tis dawn

Waiting to embrace.

Become your own self.

Revival.

*

Revival.

New beginning?

Perhaps new awakening.

Continuation, but with purpose.

Big.

*

Big

Things hurt

If you neglect

Their enormity and size.

Beware.

*

Beware !

It comes.

The blue balloon.

It bursts after flight.

Activity.

 

 

 

 

 

A List That’ll Never End — Part II

We meditate. Each one of us. We think of what we think of — sometimes with enviable deliberation and sensibility, sometimes with manic insanity, sometimes with ignorant habituation. But we, all of us, think and meditate without pause. When the mind is without thought, the thought is about not thinking. Until I experience a complete nothingness, I will believe so. And until I believe so, I will think, and express and ask and seek.

I have a list where I sometimes jot down my thoughts, questions and observations. The list keeps increasing, of course, and today I wish to add to it. To read the previously published one, just click here. As always, your answers, your comments are wanted, dreamt of, even.

34. I like Pablo Neruda’s poetic mind.

35. Would it be right to say that a strong retaliation is unjust, if the trigger were strong enough?

36. I can’t make bubble-making liquid. I just can’t.

37. If all the self-help advices in the world were collected, there would be equal amounts of contradictory advices for the same problem.

38. Ice-cream melts slower if you eat the cone alternately from both the ends.

39. Feminism is farcical. Just as machismo is.

40. Grief is a good thing for your soul, if you allow it to enrich you.

41. Huge raindrops are slightly scary.

42. What would happen if it really rained cats and dogs?

43. The amount of electronic and plastic no-good things in your house speak volumes about your past life. You might have been a magpie.

44. I’d like to give a giver of fulsome praise a good punch square on their nose.

45. I am beginning to believe I could garden well if I tried well enough.

46. Could there really be space scrap floating in space?

47. People living in war-torn regions aren’t people. They are super humans.

48. A child should always get a chance to know his/her grandparents.

49. Was any of your grandparent without denture/teeth? Yes? Such fun when they laughed, no?

50. If you can hug a tree a day, or sit under its canopy, consider yourself very lucky.

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Note to Reader: You might find me here every day – writing short notes, long notes, stories or poems or whatever takes my fancy and whatever my time dictates. Don’t feel obliged to read and comment. Although, if you do read and/or comment, you’ll be delighting me in the process. And delighting me can be your good deed of the day every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadness is undiscriminating. Unlike Happiness, it doesn’t shy away from gatecrashing. What do you do? You simply smile and let it in.

Sanjeev Mama, one of the four brothers in my mother’s family, died ten days ago. The sad fact that his demise followed a cardiac procedure we thought was successful makes this going-away more shocking, leaving us all in a limbo of disbelief. But that doesn’t help, does it? He is gone.

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Mama was one of my many go-to heroes, even though I am not much of a go-to person, and he wasn’t much of a conversationalist. All that I’d heard about him from my mother stuck with me, especially the way he broke moulds in a family where, and at a time when, breaking moulds was considered alarming. Refusing to take up a ‘decent’ job somewhere, he made it clear that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He began with a cycle repair shop, since investing money in a bigger business was as alarming as wanting to get into one.

He eventually became a partner of a chain of bars with a friend. Business was obviously good. And he had had his way. Like many self-started ventures do, however, this venture of his gradually became his bondage. The pressures of a routine that belied normalcy, the challenges of witnessing unpleasant clients — all these must have been tough for a man, who liked fun, games and an easy time with close companions.

But then, this is all conjecture — he didn’t quite share his discomfort with anyone, least of all with me — his hidden admirer. He gardened. And what glory he created with his time and patience! Every single plant of his spoke of the care he handed in. Such love, there! Delighted as we were to visit their home and his garden, we also wished that he could somehow find a way to spend more time with these blissful creatures.

But it wasn’t to be.

Regardless of all that we feel, all that we wish for, for him and his wife and two daughters, things will never be the same, and our hearts break at the thought that life plays tricks when we are least prepared for them.

It is very sad.

Pretty Please

*

*

*

“Go on, then,” murmured she,

Setting her tea things and a little muted glee.

He picked up his cup,

Trembling with emotion.

Together they danced, suddenly wild and free.

*

Not a limb moved, no breath amiss,

They hopped in unison, in imaginary bliss.

Things would now be all right.

“We’ll even rent a mansion,” mumbled he.

She tapped her cheap china cup at this.

*

Off he went, all aglow with practiced hope.

She looked from the window, looking for support to grope.

“Tonight he’ll be back,” rejoiced she, unaccustomed.

“Leaving his rail job of ages, finally.”

“Lucky he grabbed the lottery bag when Jim fell out at the slope.”

*

*

*

 

 

PS:  I didn’t know how it’d end, and it gave me the creeps when I finished it. I hope you aren’t untouched either. Sorry about the awkward last stanza. Want to sleep before it is time to get up again. Love to you, reader!

 

I Did It Again.

“Get me a pillow,” he said, and then added “please” with a cocky smirk designed just to annoy her. But she knew him well. “Sure,” said she, and then added “darling”. She knew she’d got right back at him. The refrigerator was getting in her way as she got up from their impromptu bed on the kitchen’s marble floor. The moments after were almost always the best part of their intimacy. They challenged each other, mussed more hair and got closer than sex ever would make them. Winding her way through the narrow space, she first went to the bathroom to wash off love, but not quite. She liked the “not quite” bit the most. Smiling, and looking at her reflection at the same time, she looked happy, contented and very comfortable right were she was. Picking up several things that would make their temporary lay-in more self-sufficient, she walked over to him and threw the pillow on his head. Gently, but surely. Opening his eyes, he looked at her and squinted against the sun from behind her back. “You’re back too soon. I was in the middle of something very engaging.” “I could go back and get you a couple of more pillows,” she said, but threw herself on him at the same time. “Or you could join me in the engagement.” “Tell me, then.” “You and I.” “Under the water.” “Of a blue ocean.” “Swimming with the fish.” “Nibbling.” “Mmm.” And so it went on, the engagement, until it was time to switch on the lights and start over. But they didn’t. They switched on the lights and got out of the tiny but stylish apartment and went for a stroll out in the cold Delhi night. Their marriage wasn’t over yet, but it seemed like it needed something more than sex and love. What could be more than that? They had been trying to find that out for some time, tacitly and politely, but kept having to start over.

*

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*

*

*

NB: Meant to be a novel, this scene was supposed to grow. But it hasn’t, so I am offering it for a quick read, reader. Read well, and tell me I am a fool to not continue writing even when I can’t. Especially when I can’t.  

Watch and Wait

Fine

Silk

Hanging,

Swaying.

We could strip

The clothes line.

Or just watch it

Carry fine silk

Until the winds blow.

*

When they do, gossamer

Mornings’ll turn powder

Sheer nights’ll blind, trembling. Winded.

Let’s beat the mistral to it.

Come, let’s spin a yarn, weave a roof.

*

Stay away, puff. Our fabric breathes.

Delicately, slowly, it breathes spry mirth.

Let it, puff. Let it inspirit itself.

*

We will sit here, and look at it breathe.

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More About Me. Thank You for Listening.

I don’t remember hesitating much before writing anything on this blog, so today — this post-writing — surprises me. I struggle to find words and it seems like a defeat. Truth be told, though, it shouldn’t be so much of a surprise because I have been struggling with what they call a writer’s block for what seems like forever. I have written some blog posts, of course, and a few odd emails I think about with a smile, but they don’t satisfy this endless, now-shuddering, now-shivering gong I have going on in my head. It keeps gonging! Write, write, write! it says. I pick up my fingers, my pens, pencils, my daughter’s crayons, even, but nothing seems to work. This damn block is a heavy one.

The character, a woman (surprise!), is a struggler like me. She doesn’t quite know what she wants, she hasn’t achieved much by way of awards and narratable experiences, but there is a fire in her she can’t describe and it keeps her seeking for something that will quench her thirst, if only for a short while. That seems like a workable character for a decent story, doesn’t it? But the story keeps bloody changing before I try to write it! Frustration, annoyance, frustration, annoyance. Arrrgh.

My trusty soundboard for story-writing stuff is busy. Not that had he been around I’d have begun writing, but I could have at least sounded the board and silenced the gong for a bit.

Not all struggle is in vain, though, dear reader. I have scaled a treacherous summit in the meantime. From here, I can see people doing their work and achieving things, travelling to my kind of places, having my kind of conversations, sipping my cup of tea, and it no longer makes me want to pull off my hair and wonder what happened to my existence. I am no longer very jealous. I use very because this summit has hypnotising precipices that occasionally pipe the piper’s tune. But I am generally safe, so I can proudly stand on a steeple (summit, if you will), and cry out with glee — “I look within, you other beings of this world!”

Lost

Image: Dan Pancamo
Image: Dan Pancamo

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A day gone

In the arms of

A hungry little monster

Skulking behind

A face alit with hope.

He moves with its vigour,

The hungry little monster’s.

But waits for the hope’s

Peace.

~

Another day,

Another posy of

Promising smiles.

He might get up today

With a frown finally wringing

Itself free. One with

The hungry little monster.

But he won’t.

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The day breaks

All little armours,

Jostling through their chinks.

Light!

The armours cling and clank —

Soundlessly and noisily at once.

But there is light.

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He likes this,

The play of light

With his chinks.

He wears

The usual smile

Like a buoy even though

The water’s paved.

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