Thursday, November 18, 2010

Has it really been over a year?

"How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn."
- Dr. Seuss

I originally took this very-very-extended hiatus from my blog because I had too much to do on my plate without an extra side dish of Blog. I kept telling myself I'd post something eventually, but the more I procrastinated, the more I realized - I only procrastinate things I would rather not do. And I guess that meant blogging was something I preferred not do. Posting regularly began to feel like more of a duty than something I enjoyed doing. I told myself, when true inspiration comes, when the words are just itching to escape my mind and fingers - that, is when I'll write again. A train of thought greatly inspired by this poem by Charles Bukowski:

So You Want To Be A Writer

If it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
Unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
If you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
If you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
If you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
If it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
If you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
If it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

Unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
Unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

When it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

There is no other way.

And there never was.

- Charles Bukowski

He also once wrote in an essay: "The writing arrives when it wants to. There is nothing you can do about it. You can't squeeze more writing out of the living than is there. Any attempt to do so creates a panic in the soul, diffuses and jars the line."

And to put it all into a nice, yet ugly nutshell - that is exactly what happened: There was a panic in my soul. Panic because I believed I would never be the writer that people (okay, my friends) (and a few teachers along the way) were making me out to be. Panic because I've never enjoyed anything I've done as much as I do writing, and thus panic because - where does that leave me? The road I'm taking is leading me nowhere near a future I'm likely to enjoy. Next year I'm going to be in university studying geophysics, for Merlin's beard's sake.

Ah but, I digress (I'll try to elaborate on the whole future thing in another post). Point is, all these conflicting thoughts were bouncing off the walls of my skull, having a turbo-speed rave party in my mind, resulting in one massive thought knot that was harder to unravel than my earphones after having been tossed around in my bag all day (or just lying around in my room all day - they somehow manage to get all knotted up anyway).
But, my dear followers - and listen up, because this is important: It seems that the best way to deal with those thought knots also happens to be the best way to deal with those knots in my ear phone wires: Give them a mellow, gentle shake, and the knots will unravel of their own accord - Everything will flow. But sit cross-legged on your bedroom's floor, picking furiously at the wires, huffing and puffing, groaning and complaining - and you'll most likely end up with an even bigger knot.

And because I worry my atypical metaphors are not making much sense to you, dear reader, I believe it's about time I went back to what I was saying about Bukowski. The truth is, I suppose I've had a change of heart. Don't get me wrong, I still love that poem of his, and it's advice that I still hold dear to my heart - but it's just that: Advice. And I always like to think of advice as water - you either drink it or you let it wash over you. Either way, you gotta live.
Yes, writing, as all forms of art, should come from somewhere deep inside you, somewhere where it has been bubbling and simmering for a while, until it's ready to boil over and come to life. But rarely does true inspiration come to existence in an already perfect form. Quite frankly, the most inspired works usually boil over just like a pot does: By making a big fat mess. And our job is to make that mess more aesthetically pleasing. The key to letting go of my inhibitions was to realize that inspiration doesn't necessarily come to you. Sometimes you just have to work at it. It's impossible for everything you do to be brilliant; it's the mediocre, less-than-average, sometimes downright awful work that gives you both the experience and proficiency that prepare you for those moments of true inspiration. I like to think of mediocre work as nothing short of practice: little tricks to stuff up my sleeve, saving them for when inspiration comes knocking at my door - because when it does, you can bet your normal-sized butt I'll be ready. Or else Inspiration might pack up its belongings into a polka-dotted bindle and go knocking on someone else's door - someone that has been sat in front of their desk, writing mediocre, less-than-average, or even downright awful work.

And so, that being said, I am proud to present to you, dear followers - or what's left of you - The Return of the Great (perhaps the Greatest) Procrastinator. I hope you have all been splendid, and I would much appreciate it if you dropped a small line telling me what things, splendid or unsplendid, you've been attending to.

Until next time (which will hopefully not be too far away): Farewell, Buona Sera, and Salam!