Gosh, I can’t believe it has been so long since I last wrote something. The more I read that a budding writer must get into the habit of writing something, anything, every single day, the more my psyche resists such a notion. How can anyone write just for the sake of writing? Why make writing a chore when it can be such a spiritual and cathartic experience when it is spontaneous and inspired? Surely one writes something when they feel it is meaningful or useful either to them or to someone else. Writing is a release, an outlet for emotions, knowledge and encouragement. Writing is an open door that leads to creativity but the process is so, so much more than that as is the end result, for the writer as well as the reader. Whether one writes fiction or personal reflections or experiences, the act of writing, indeed any artistic enterprise, is in many ways very much like having a baby, in that we feel something powerful germinating inside of us and there is nothing we can do to bring forth any quicker the delivery day, just as there is nothing we can do to stop it once we know it is on the way. The baby will only come when it is good and ready. Similarly, we never know what the baby is going to look like until it is born. Yes, we suspect our child or work of art will bear some resemblance to us, some features that will point back to where it came from, but just as there is much of the miraculous in the act of procreation, it is so with a work of art. It is the fact that we know where it came from but we are not quite sure when, how and why the seed was planted within us; why we have been charged with the task of bringing it to fruition or for what purpose. We just know deep within that we must follow that prompt for if we don’t, we will be failing ourselves and the world around us with cosmic consequences. The creative process is utterly beyond us, out of our control. We simply feel an overwhelming, relentless pull to be used as a vehicle that delivers what has been planted in us. Artists and in this case writers are no more in control of the conception of their work of art than a mother is in control of the outcome of her attempts to conceive or of what will happen once conception takes place.
If you have been hanging out on this site for a while, you will know that Fiction is not my forte; it is simply not my bag. I do not have the imagination or perhaps those are not the kind of babies that I am meant to bring forth into this world. I struggle a great deal to engage with anything that is fiction. I am a realist. I am averse to Science Fiction and any form of art which distorts or embellishes in any way what I know to be true today; it just does not engage me at all. I can only connect with those things which touch me in a personal way, because I have experienced them myself. And so I can read fiction whilst I am on holiday chilling out on a visually stimulating and awe inspiring spot with a glass of wine, fantasising about the lives of fictitious characters invented by others, but when it comes to my own writing, I very much feel it would compromise my integrity to publish something which is only true in an imaginary world. Sure, it would be classed as fiction and therefore it is clear my intent as a writer would not be to deceive anyone, but nevertheless, I personally would not be satisfied in myself with settling for the make-believe. I don’t knock it, of course! The wonder of imagination is what makes the world go round! The possibility to change the reality we live in. The ability to dream off a better set of circumstances for ourselves and others; the what ifs and the ability to travel on all the roads never taken. It is just not for me! The bigger the fantasy, the harder the knock when we close the book and are faced once again with the reality which faces us and which we try so hard to not face ourselves a lot of the time, though I have to say that more and more, artists are putting out there creations which surpass in what can almost we classed as pathological, the sordidness and horror we find in our world today. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot understand the purpose of such so called “art”.
When I put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard time and time again, hard as I try, my mind always steers towards my own perception of the world and the people around me, my experiences, my fears and regrets. In other words, when you read what I write, I am giving you a big part of the “Me” that no one gets to ever see or experience when they interact with me face to face. My writing is not born out of a narcissistic nature or an obsession with self. Far from it! I am an extremely guarded person and it grates on me enormously to the point of physical and mental affliction to have to disclose myself beyond what is necessary. I most definitely feel introverts get a real raw deal in this world. That guardedness often means others interpret your silence for you and misinterpret your utterances also. Being an introvert is also mistaken for a cry out to be rescued somehow; for lacking courage to accept perhaps what others think they know already about you. And so writing for me very much feels like stepping into a secret closet which only I have the key to. No one knows where that closet is and only when I am in that closet I am truly fully myself. Writing for me is an act of liberation; is the opportunity for the caterpillar to become the butterfly. Only, in my case, the butterfly reverts back to the caterpillar once the creative process subsides.
I suppose a lot of it is to do with what it is that as an artist or “creator” one wishes to leave behind as a legacy. In other words, for me there are two very different types of artists: those who project that which is germinating within them onto a medium which points away from them onto a new reality, a subjective reality, primarily for the purpose of delighting and stirring themselves and others, and which eventually points back to the artist who gave it birth, and then there are those artists who in the creative process lift up the veil off the deepest and most sacred corners of their soul to give us as the result of their creativity all of themselves, and in doing so connect on a very transcendental level with others to a place where a kind of epiphany takes place; an epiphany which leads to radical personal transformation and in turn acts also as a catalyst for radical transformation of the world and the people who are most immediate to us. For me there is no art more enduring, meaningful and powerful than that which does not concern itself with the talent of the artist or the quality of his/her creation, but rather sets our hearts on fire, our spirits ablaze and is capable of breaking the boundaries of space and time; it inexplicably shifts us from the natural and ordinary into the supernatural and extraordinary. So out-worldly is that moment of reckoning and connection between the artist, the work of art and the recipients of his/her art that when it is over, both artist and recipient no longer resemble the person they were before the creative experience. Indeed, they simply are unable to go back to who they were before the creative process.
I have a long, long way to go yet, but I will die trying! It is who I am and what is in me. It is how I am wired.