On writing

I struggle with writing. With the craft of writing, and the nature of writing. The practice of word smithing, I’m not too concerned about, for - like many things in this world - it can be solved through the hard work of consistent practice. Quoting Stephen King, just show up and go to work. I need to do that.

I struggle with the nature of writing. The tension between the need (or an imagined one) to write for an unwilling audience, and that to give order to and express myself. The former reeks of failed elitism: it often turns out that I end up writing the same as the collective zeitgeist. Preaching to the choir, if you will, and preaching using the same book. So much for being unique and differentiated.

Once upon a time, when and where I was in school, as students we were given the option for English exams to write either a narrative or an expository essay. The exposition usually deals with current events, or policies, or an excuse for students to wax approved lyrical on carefully selected topics. I would always pick narrative, until it was no longer an option maybe because it was deemed too juvenile.

The latter (expressing myself) is attractive, addictive and strong like coffee. The innermost thoughts resembles no shape and no form. It shifts like clouds changing in the sky. Often fleeting, has no point, and gets contradicted in barely three days. It is however emotional, sweeping, charged and forces itself through the body like a whirlwind. It often origins from the top of my head where the brain sits, flowing through the lymbic system of my body; like the gushing and palpatation of rapids in the blood stream, it challenges and grinds through the very fabric of my system, stretching it, eventually reaching the tips of my finger tips. Spraying itself all over the metaphorical paper, leaving a shape, a form, and finally nothing at all.

A hot mess, I thought to myself. And then I go on to ponder what is the next great thing I’m trying to tell the world, the exact same story that was told by someone else 20 years ago. The words escape me.

I struggle with writing, because sometimes I don’t know if I’m writing for myself, or trying to write for some imaginary professional audience, establishing my credence with those who may stumble upon. Or nothing at all.