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Getting there: the gut symmetry of writing Getting there: the gut symmetry of writing
by Abigail George
2010-10-07 09:10:18
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What motivates me to write? It’s harder to explain to non-writers and easier in some ways to explain to writers who write for the sheer thrill of it, the madness clicking away inside your brain and the hell of it; to sweep away all the cobwebs out from underneath your psychic mind. In some cases writers sometimes miss the interior spaces that come in the neutral, empty nothingness between the words. Writing has created miracles in my life; it has created within me a deep sensitivity for the human condition, mushroomed insightfulness in the blackness of my depressions that is and will be forever linked to my imaginative, artistic and creative expressions. Without my depression I cannot write. I am left blinded; exiled from the distortions and the truthful meanings of words, a weakened, grasping, gasping fool, a terrifying puppet with a weathered resolved.

Piled up features with nowhere else to go

Writing ages me as I arrange the words on the page, mellows me like a fine wine as I slowly take cognisance of the fact of what I am committing to the page , it smells of the scent of freshly washed, limp hair, something novel and benign, linen airing in a cupboard lined with peeling old-fashioned wallpaper left over from an odd job of doing a wall years or months before. Writing reminds me of my mother’s rose garden in full crimson bloom (the one that she meditates on early in the morning), her perfumed wrists, her perfumed lobes behind her ears, it pulls and pushes words gently and then forcefully against my mind like oars in water, makes me crawl like a vulnerable baby, makes my words walk stooped like an elderly man leaning on a cane who has frail and delicate bones. It spooks me sometimes; jerks me into tidal daydreaming, when pain or hurt moves within me leaving me to lick my wounds so does inspiration in small doses or a heavy weight. Inspiration for me has always been the definition of a miracle.

The education of the mind


Writing is my calling. It has taken me over twenty years to discover that. For years I considered it a secret. Words would rush out like blisters out of my pen. I won prizes for it at school. I had imagination. I was imaginative and sensitive. I was going to be an investigative journalist or a documentary filmmaker. But God infinitely takes those decisions out of your hands, chooses your pathways; your final destination. It carried me through tumultuous times; bullying, changing schools, built character, boxed my creativity within me until such a time came when I could put it to good use and colour invisible boundaries around me to protect my mad heroines and protagonists, my adolescent moodiness. I alternated unnervingly emotional maturity, alchemy, humanity and purity. For this I have to seek inspiration everywhere. For all the parts, egos, identity crisis’s, cogs and wheels of the machine to work I have to rely not only on pen and paper but also on hope, education, beauty and then setting everything to self-destruct so that only a blot of that remains that I can knit at, peep at, peek at, address, disguise and dismantle. I knit all these blots together and make them into features that heal, features that magnify the audacity, the intensity of the circle of life that has to be, most of all, endured. Something changes when we grow older as writers. We overcome storms. We learn breathing lessons.

The fate of the writer

The denial of suffering for your craft comes easily to some writers; not to all. There are times when I feel like every word I write is the last one that will come to mind. It scares the hell out of me. First, where do all of them, these words, come from (this always amazes me), some kind of wish factory from heaven? Will they eventually die out, become extinct; aside from behaving like gorillas in the mist at first to capture your attention even in a dark, hellish mood? Or will they vanish without a trace into a shimmering haze from where I first beckoned them from like a heat wave. Sometimes the world is a blur. There is no filter from your head to your mouth and the messages that your brain is sending to your memory box is so frequent and excessive that you forget jewels of thought and pearls, gems of wisdom. Words when they’re estranged from you (this is called writer’s block) always set up a challenge for the writer. Have I lost it now completely? You grow older in years but the words that spring from you are always in their infancy stages. You always have great expectations for them.

There are pieces of writing that pierce hearts, pieces that charge the air with electricity, pieces that leave readers in tears, wanting more, having their cake and eating it too. Pieces of writing that pierce the heart, leaving the writer breathless, leave the reader breathless too. If you’re moody, that usually rubs off on the characters as well and the reader can sense that. Never hesitate to write when you’re depressed. Some of your best work although it can be suggestive of what you were feeling at the time should well just be left alone to stand on its own ground and speak for itself. Don’t explain too much or you’ll give it all away and then where is the sense in that. Writers’ birth words, give words life, give them air to breathe, mouthfuls of it and give them a splash of colour to rejuvenate them in a sense of a wonderland. They’re not written on the body in tattoos for nothing. We are all hungry for words and for knowledge and for the gifts that come from them.

Eyes of gods

In words, in language, in meaning and their purpose we can see the eyes of gods. Some are Buddha-like, sturdy, built like brick walls. There are others like me out there who see words as meat, living out their dreams writing haiku and poetry until it completely sates their thirst like moths attracted to light bulbs, getting into the spirit of it all of being a little known writer, while having a normal day job that pays the bills. The empty shell of a writer is one that attracts eternal insomnia, fighting off sleep, madness, depression, mental illness, psychologists, chaos, disorder across a desk and leaves room for little else some might say but the shell also retains the order of families, progeny, small children growing up with vocabularies of children much older than they are; writing and words come with a love even of just hearing the wonderful words of herbal teas like chamomile that your psychiatrist drinks during her breaks from seeing her patients, chai tea from India that your sister brought home from her vacation there or an infusion of green tea or a flask of coffee. It leaves you with a hunger, no, a craving for seeing your name out there as if it was a completely different entity than you and what you created out of nothing; simply words.

    
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Emanuel Paparella2010-10-07 11:29:42
Indeed, "in the beginning was the Word..." and the Word came into the world and the world knew it not... Some philosophers (one thinks of Aristotle and Aquinas and Spinoza) have reasoned to God and made Her into their own image: a thinking being who thinks his own thoughts eternally...I think that is only half the truth. God more than a philosopher is a poet. The whole universe is a poem. Not to recognize that (as Mario the illiterare is able to do in that gem of a movie "Il Postino') is to become an idolater and a narcisist who worships the thoughts of one's mind and thinks that behind words there is thought, when the contrary applies: behind thought there are images adn words. The living God is beyond reason and logic. She is not a logician and a chess player; is a dancing poet and most writers who need to write to survive intuite that much even when they cannot explain it philosophically.


Abigail George2010-10-07 17:52:23
I have learnt so much from you
Professor Paparella. Many thanks for your comment. Your words of wisdom, your guidance is truly a masterful and giving gift. You are generous, your words are piercing, relevant, the aftermath of them fragile, dazzling and formidable. They leave an imprint behind that weathers storms, glows spiritedly, grows like ladders and genes, alternating between battalions of futility and the sheer giddiness, audacity of being shaped by the very ceremony of existence. My writing is instructed and comes with limbs with a life of their own. They are couriered into a world that either accepts their wholesomeness or rejects their sum of parts. When words leave a writer's domain after they have dominated it for weeks, months or years I believe they become oblivious to the writer's ego, subtle intellect, pscyhe, identity, head space once the writer lets his 'child' loose; surrenders to the world.


chika onyenezi2011-07-16 17:54:35
in all my reading i have never seen a writing as passionate as this. friend is in you,is boiling, and is true. you are sincere to the core, passionate to last. you are a strong voice coming out of africa. i love it all. i lovr every bit. to the victors belong the language


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