The Wordsmythe's Weblog…

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Archive for the tag “pain”

It’s been three weeks

It’s been three weeks since I was driving and singing along to the radio when I got the call. Today I’m driving back from the gym. Pharrell William’s ‘Happy’ is playing. It’s a tune I love. My boys love it too. When it comes on at home, we crank up the volume and break out in a happy dance. But I am alone now. I do not have to put up a happy front for the children. I cannot clap along. Because I’m not happy. Yes, I do feel like a room without a roof. But it is raining and I am getting drenched in grief and loss as the rain mingles with my tears. The room is flooding with memories of when he was here. He was just here. I know that happiness is the truth but it is not my truth right now. I want to be happy but I am not. I cannot be. This loss is too huge, too painful to be lifted by the lyrics of an upbeat song.

It’s been three weeks. My older son points out that people are no longer coming to visit. Not like the steady stream we had when we first heard the news. I nod and agree with him. I want to tell him that that’s the way life works. It goes on. I want to say that though people care, life must carry on. That even though this was a monumental shift in our paradigm, it was just a momentary blip in that of our friends, interrupting their lives albeit ever so briefly. I want to tell him that even though they may not be physically present, we are in their thoughts and prayers. But I don’t. It is too much to burden a 7-year old with. My decision proves right when our conversation segues into sharing memories about Granddad. He and his brother talk about how Granddad was so funny, how he laughed and made them laugh. I am sad but I smile. I am glad that in spite of the fact that he is gone, they have happy memories of their grandfather.

It’s been three weeks. I am forgetful and absent-minded, apathetic and lethargic. I forgot to attend my appointment with the dentist. I forgot to take my younger son to the dentist. I forgot to change the calendar page from January to February. It is like I am frozen in time. As if I cannot move beyond those heart-stopping minutes three weeks ago.

It’s been three weeks. And It’s been hard. I have tried to carry on because that’s what he would have wanted. But it’s been hard. Sometimes I am able to function normally because in doing so, I’m almost able to convince myself that it didn’t happen. That the pain I feel in my chest is imaginary. Other times, everything in me bucks at normal because life isn’t normal and I want everything to stop and acknowledge that it isn’t.

It’s been three weeks since I decided to go back home. My other home. The one I grew up in. I think of my trip and I begin to get excited. I look forward to getting together with the whole family. To being in the same room as all my sisters. To the raucous laughter as we regale and remind each other with and of tales of our escapades. To catching up on news of everyone and what they have been up to since we’ve been apart.

But then I remember why I am making the trip. And grief shoos the excitement out of my soul. I am going back home because my daddy died. I am going back home but I won’t be seeing my dad. And that hurts. Badly.

Painful pleasure or pleasurable pain

I’m not sure if writing comes easy to any writer but I know that it most definitely doesn’t to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments. Those times when ideas, inspiration, time and all the other ingredients that make writing a delight conspire to form a magical combination for a winning recipe.

At times like that, my adrenal glands send a surge of adrenaline into my blood stream, causing my fingers to fly across the keyboard at the speed of light. Thoughts and ideas, over-eager to be crystallised, tumble out in an abundance of concise, meaningful words. My otherwise elusive muse works overtime supplying oodles of inspiration while seconds, minutes and even hours flow seamlessly, one into the other, in tandem with my creativity .

When the above happens, writing is such a delight and I wonder why I don’t do it all the time. I wish I could summarise my entire experience of writing in this way however, the truth is these times are few and far between for me. They are more the exception than the rule.

More often than not, I find writing tedious, laborious, tough-going and a hard slog. An idea makes a fleeting appearance in my head but when I sit to flesh it out, it proves as cooperative as an eel in stilettos. I struggle to find words that accurately convey my thoughts. In dialogue, the words are stilted, forced and lacking in emotion. In narrative, they are flat, unconvincing and far off the mark.

At those times, I am reduced to checking the word count feature of my word processor every so often and the measly sum total of words I’ve written make a mockery of the effort and time I’ve expended. The clock ticks away ever so slowly, every passing second magnifying my anxieties.

It is then that I question my sanity and wonder why I afflict myself in this manner. I have come to the conclusion that possessing a certain amount of masochism is a prerequisite for writing.

Writing is like childbirth, painful, almost traumatic yet I find myself doing it again and again. It can be arduous yet so very fulfilling and satisfying when completed. It is like an itch, the more I scratch, the more it itches. Writing is an act of folly; a fever that won’t abate so I just have to ride out. It is like a drug addiction, a high I am reluctant to ever come off.

As painful and as difficult as it sometimes is for me, like a moth to a flame, I am drawn to it time and time again. I find that if I persevere and push through the tedium, it gets better, easier and less of a chore. The end result may not always be as scintillating as I hope but I still get immense satisfaction from it. So for good or for bad, I will keep on writing, who knows, maybe a time will come when it will become easy. I live in hope.

I don’t write because I want to, at least not all the time. I write because I have to. I have to scratch that itch, bring down the fever, rid myself of the folly and get off that high.

In the meantime, I take comfort in the knowledge that some more accomplished writers also experience/d this painful pleasure so I’m in good company. Read what they have/had to say about it. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” Gene Fowler, American journalist, author and dramatist.

“Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.” Gustave Flaubert, French author of Madame Bovary.

“The desire to write grows with writing.” Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch Renaissance humanist.

“A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” Thomas Mann, German novelist.

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Nathaniel Hawthorne, American novelist.

“There is no way of writing well and also of writing easily” Anthony Trollope, English novelist.

“I like myself better when I’m writing regularly.” Willie Nelson, American country music singer-songwriter.

“I enjoy writing but I much prefer the experience of having written.” Fareed Zakaria, American-Indian journalist and author.

“Writing is pretty crummy on the nerves.” Paul Theroux, American travel writer and novelist.

“Let’s face it, writing is hell.” William Styron, American novelist and essayist.

“The drudgery of being a professional writer comes in trying to make good days out of bad days and in squeezing out the words when they won’t just flow.” Benjamin Cavell, producer and writer.





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