Bukit Setiawangsa looks serene after the raging storm a while ago. Puddle of water splashes away with every passing vehicles down my balcony. The sky is starless but the clouds have cleared. This quiet balcony is the Camelot of all places in my life. In the still of the night, I flip through my old moleskin in desperate search to put up a new post here. Nothing materialises – nada, nil, zero – only empty pages reign the sacred moleskin. Writing is a tricky affair; there are moments when it pours like rain; at times you will find yourself staring at the empty pages for hours on end. This Sleepless in Setiawanga 12th’s draft has been sitting in my draft box for a month.
I recently chanced upon an opportunity to rekindle an old friendship with Oyen – my friend during the torturous CLP course. While not being the best of friends, Oyen was never in my bad book. Trust me, I do have few names in my bad book. Hey! I am only human you know. Personally, I think Oyen has too much brains for me to catch up with. No pun intended.
We sat at Friday’s one lonely Thursday evening under the pretext of discussing about work (yeah right!). Oyen toyed with the idea of taking a sabbatical leave to finish the thing she desires to do; her doctorate, write a book or just read herself to oblivion while trying Nigella Lawson’s recipes at home. I smiled listening to her raving on and on about her intended sabbatical. For someone like Oyen, that is a complete U-turn. Marriage has mellowed my old friend.
Oyen graduated from Ivy League university, passed her CLP without much effort, an eloquent orator and a budding writer (I suspect so). But Oyen deleted her blog. She told me in earnest that she can’t write if she keeps worrying about what people would think about her. So long as she fears judgment from the public eyes, she can’t honestly put her thoughts into writing. Her statements struck a chord in my heart. I never really thought of what people would think of my writing. I figure since this is my blog, I can pretty much nurse my neurotic thoughts here. Ah, Oyen got me there…
A renowned publisher once told me that the key to writing is to keep on writing; to which I stared at her in blank confusion. In all fairness, I can’t just write for the sake of writing. Inspiration needs to move me before I can start dancing my pencil across the acid-free paper. I guess I wasn’t born to write. For me, writing is a skill I have to sharpen ever since I found the joy of reading.
And writing is a lonely pursuit; writing is a reclusive affair edging you on the border of insanity. I have tonnes of unfinished drafts strewn around in my life – stuffs I scribbled while waiting in court, incoherent pieces I wrote in fists of anger and poems I drafted when Jefree first swept me off my feet. But the pieces now sit in a box gathering dusts and cobwebs for I lack courage to do anything with it.
I end this post with a quote from one of the best movie ever written in this century, Finding Forrester, where a great author says this to his protege, “No thinking – that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is … to write, not to think!”
I guess that renowned publisher was right after all. Good night sleepless wherever you are.