Thursday, 16 January 2014

Back To Basic

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” - Ernest Hemingway 

For two long, agonizing days, there was no water in Sangre Grande. To survive, we had to depend on our tanks, bottles stored under our sinks, or a neighbour’s good grace to get by. Everything that required the use of water was a task in itself. I can’t begin to count the number of trips I made to and from the tank, hauling buckets of water to different parts of the house.

During one of my trips, I commented on how difficult it must have been when a pipe borne water supply in these parts was virtually non-existent. When I asked my Granny, she wove an interesting tale about walking three to four blocks from their house to get water, and having to wait in line, peradventure their neighbours had gotten there first. She recalled that, although she was disgusted by the people she would see brushing their teeth and spitting under the standpipe, she would have to return to the same standpipe to bathe, under the watchful eye of her mother.

To me, it seemed horrendous, but the smile on her face and the mischievous glint in her eye made me realise that she didn't see it as such. She must have had happy memories of that time. Her story, coupled with the lack of water, got me thinking about Trinidad Rio’s calypso, Back to Basic. While the idea of digging a latrine appalled me, I wondered how my life would be if I were to simplify some aspects. I'm referring, in part, to my writing.   

My last blog post detailed my struggle with the pesky, Self Doubt, and its effect on my writing. In trying to overcome it, I would spend hours on websites, obsessively reading articles on writing, and the history and length of the short story. In doing so, I was complicating my writing process by focusing too much on technicalities, which meant that little to no actual writing was done, and if I did write, I was wholly unsatisfied. 

I’m not saying that the technical aspects are not important; I’m sure that I’ll be learning about most of them, eventually. But, as of right now, I need to follow my passion. I must write again with reckless abandon, letting my creativity and captivating ideas guide me. 

Basically, I want to go back to basic, that is, back to what made me want to write in the first place, and the things I did that made writing fun. I'll start off by resurrecting my notebook and pencil, since inspiration can come, and go at the drop of a hat. Then, I want to rejoin the library and do more reading. I've found that reading nourishes your talent, and helps you to see how it's done, or not done, in some cases. Finally, I'm going to return to writing in the serenity of my backyard. 

I feel like my way forward is a little clearer.

Until the next post!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Self Doubt

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt”- Sylvia Plath

The New Year is off to a slow, depressing start for yours truly. My old friend, Self Doubt, has returned to piss all over my manuscript that will determine whether or not I am accepted to the Masters’ programme in Creative Writing.

Do you know what it’s like to be your own worst enemy? How about getting up every day, with the intention of writing a page, only to have your creativity flounder? What about feeling as though every word, sentence and paragraph you write is pointless shitty? Or that the dream of being a writer that has captivated you for the better part of two years was a passing fancy? Garvin, the Writer? Ha!

I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment that this debilitating disease crept into my life. I have a great support system. I've won prizes. I've been chosen to travel to Colombia, twice. I was the Head Boy in Sixth Form for crying out loud! All these moments and more have proven that I’m more than capable of doing anything. So, I have every reason to be confident in, not only myself, but my abilities. Except, I’m not!

Maybe, it happened during the “bullying phase”, when I was made to feel that I wasn't good enough as a boy? No, that can’t be it! I could just be afraid of opening myself up and exposing my creativity to constructive criticism. I’m very sensitive, and often misinterpret constructive criticism for malice. Plus, I've read that the path to being a writer is not an easy one. I must be mentally sabotaging myself in the hopes of avoiding the incoming bumps in the road. That makes sense, right?

How do I get over this? I have tried everything. I've re-read my past blog posts, only to find faults. I've gone over all the compliments I've gotten about my writing, but if I don’t believe in myself, what use are they? I've forced myself to write, but end up being even more frustrated than before. Sigh! What’s the point? I can’t just sit around, wallowing in self pity, watching old episodes of “Wilfred” as the deadline draws closer. I would hate to be rushing at the last minute in a daring “Make It Work” moment. I should just throw in the towel from the get-go, and apply for a “safe” Masters in Cultural Studies.

Maybe, all hope isn't lost; I did just write a blog post. Then again, I might read this tomorrow, and think it’s a load of shit...

Until the next one!