The craft of writing never ceases to antagonise me. I know, I have lost myself in the world of poetry lately, and really, I don’t have a plausible explanation to offer you. I need a harsh jolt of reality to begin writing again; preferably writing a piece of substance as opposed to my meaningless rambles, I normally do here.
Last night – after Dim Sum for main course and black coffee for dessert – Laila asked me in earnest, “If you don’t have to work, what would you do?” She looked at me straight in the eyes while adjusting the furry balls shawl around her lithe shoulders. Raihana sipped her coffee and nodded in approval to Laila’s question. She frowned a little – no, she frowned a lot. All eyes fixated on yours truly.
Pretty tricky question Ms. Furry Pinky!
Somehow, an answer cracked through my lips without a moment’s pause, “I just write -“
“What’s stopping you now?” Raihana halted me mid-sentence.
Precisely, what’s stopping me now?
“Hey, you guys want to help pick my dad’s birthday present at Pavilion later?” Laila ended my uneasiness with her sudden change of mind.
With that, the three of us left the question right where it belongs. But Raihana’s voice kept ringing in my head throughout the night: “What’s stopping you now?”
Later in the privacy of my room, the answer dawned on me, as I watched the moonlight filtered through the curtain. I am just the world’s greatest procrastinator: I twist and turn, I make redundant phone calls, I play with my boy, I flip the book I have read countless of time, and I twirl the pencils for hours on end, all before I could eventually think of the first sentence to write. There, I have said it.
I find it beyond me to slay the dragons of syntax, punctuation, grammar and contents.
What do they eat those effortless writers? I could name a few in the blogsphere: 3540 Jalan Sudin, Tunku Halim (he doesn’t really count since he is a published author), Awang Goneng, Eliza’s Haberdashery and the list is just endless.
What about that incognito Mat Bangkai who blogs at Tea & Scones? I cannot get enough of his writing. He writes his post with impeccable English ensconced with stylish flair. I bet on my last Ringgit that he doesn’t twist and turn before he writes. And Kak Teh once told me that Awang Goneng could just write – anytime, anywhere.
Recently, I chanced upon this book by Paul Raymond Martin (whoever that is) at Times bookstore. Martin writes:
“I used to preach that a writer must be disciplined. Seat of pants to seat of the chair. Write every day. Blah, blah, blah. I no longer believe that. Writing is a matter of desire, not discipline. If you want to write, that’s what you’ll do. If you want to you’ll rearrange the circumstances of your life to make it possible. If you want to write, you can’t not write”.
Martin is the fine one to be saying all that, since he hasn’t the faintest idea that creative writers are literally destitute, here in Malaysia.
Also Sire, desire I have got a plenty, it’s the talent that’s lacking. Not to mention opportunities. Thank God for WordPress though. If at all – and with enough courage and insanity in my veins – may be I should rearrange my mortgage and hire-purchase installments, chuck my day job aside and just write to my heart’s content. I couldn’t careless whether it’s good or not, I needed to do it for me – just like the air that I breathe.
On a completely irrelevant afterthought, I shall misuse this space to thank Laila for the Montblanc pen. Ah, my very first Montblanc, notwithstanding the fact that, I normally write with pencils all the time.
Good night Sleepless wherever you are.