Cheer up, he said, keep a clean slate. If you let your sorrow trouble you how will you write? This writing that you love so well, if you are not light and bubbly, it’ll affect your pen(wo)manship, too.
That was his understanding of it. Out of deep respect for his concerns, in grateful appreciation for his intentions to see me happy, I did not voice contradictions. One can go only so far counter arguing against goodness.
I’ve lived a half life in deliberate contraventions.
It didn’t take me miles.
Life, they say, breaks each one of us. Afterwards, some of us are strongest in the broken parts.
I have had my share of being broken in. The beauteous wild mustang in a corral. Life has ridden me. Brought my knees crumbling to the mud. At first I neighed. Nostrils flared. Threw my razor sharp hooves into thin air for grip, haplessly to dislodge the invisible load. I fought to be free of restraints. I leapt, crashed against the fence. It splintered just a tad, barely a dent in the log’s cohesive grain, a few sharp edges pinned painfully into my flesh. I bled. Fagged. Drew short breaths. I ceased, looking at that jagged gap, panting, barely noticing Life quickly pulling on the rein, feeding me the bit.
I stopped flying.
In a while my flanges crashed. Collapse happened speedily but appeared slow, a vision of myself in weed haze. Or perhaps it was slow, a second by second culling of myself, blinding pain sans anaesthesia.
I rolled. Lay down in squishy oblivion, staring blue-grey into nothingness.
It was about this time I discovered Janice Galloway’s The Trick is to Keep Breathing.
I closed my eyes. Those long lashes lovers looked deep into and fell in lust with, interlocked. Thankful, I slept.
Light and easy. Lying. Low.
I hadn’t thought I was waiting.
Wasn’t in all self honesty.
How I would cope with obliviousness in the long run hadn’t crossed my mind. I was willingly escaping my life’s chances, turning away from me – Life – in blind grief…for how long, I hadn’t a whiff left in my dying spirit to question.
My existence hung in limbo, formalin drenched, a specimen that was animate once, presently dulled, yellowed, another accessory on a lab shelf. Of mildly instructive usage.
A statutory warning.
A label at the bottom of the jar.
Here’s what’s not to do.
Here’s who not to be.
Hope and dream are self-detonating hazards. Keep at bay!
Writing happened to me just then, twenty odd years ago.
An outlet for anathema. The much blessed pain reliever.
At first I wrote to my two lovers. First one, then the other. Aimless scribbles to be shredded with dawn. Soon, indistinguishable between the two, my anguish floundered. It no longer mattered who had broken my rib, or whose I had.
Soon poetry flowed out of me.
Phosphoric prose roared in rolling waves on the grainy shore of my consciousness.
I knew not when the dam broke and the channel overflowed its banks.
A creative greed took charge, a higher being held my fist steady on the quill. Like my mother’s firm guidance around the chalk stick over cold slate in childhood.
When I cracked my knee falling off a bus a decade later, I had to learn painstakingly to walk again.
That moment my heart cracked, I learnt to write.
How can I explain to my friend, with his heartfelt anxieties for my wellbeing, I need hurt to keep writing.
Deep distress. Invisible noises.
Pain defuncts my life’s breath. And fills my inkwell.
The seal of a good author is to be objective. To run into rivulets of inspiration removed from personal memory. Memoirs cannot be my sole claim to artistry. A blackboard, swiped clean of bruises, waits for worthier scratches.
I have stories in me which don’t need agony to birth them. Oh yes, they are plenty, jostling in the frontal lobe to be outted.
But when the storms come, they birth things beautiful too. Tears, in volleys, register themselves on parchments. Sweep clean debris and the morning after is bright again.
When Pi Patel asks, What more do you want of me, I have lost everything, he answers himself in the very next scene.
When there is nothing more to lose, divinity watches carefully your next move, waiting with the patience of all universe to see if you’d even attempt to rise again. The creator fails, the teacher fails, the tester fails if you don’t, and so waits, holding back exhalation, infinitely paused.
Without blisters that elegant mare would have no chance to know healing.
How blessed, how glorious Resurrection feels.
Tides snatch away, and return what they stole, inside of me. Sadness wasn’t meant to be a bad thing, the death of me, my friend. Sorrow is the celebration of my lungs. Beating yet.