how do we open?
I wonder at the capacity
what do we do when we put a liminality inside a eternity?
we ate of the intimate
and seemed on the tender
arcing with the revolution
of many bones and souls.–
how do we open?
I wonder at the capacity
what do we do when we put a liminality inside a eternity?
we ate of the intimate
and seemed on the tender
arcing with the revolution
of many bones and souls.–
in the light of the sun through a window; sized medium, shutters green-slight
it slits on the top; reminds me of old cameras — yet what it records?
life inside or outside? Both? I am soaked by the frame. It’s reference —
a sketch. I am tidying my short hair, happily cut for the occassion
of living alone. Less stress. More eloquence. Like a few short words.
Written on some wall. Engraved on some tree. I feel the sun on my face,
on my naked neck as I blow dry hair. I am getting better at this.
There is a still stubbornness of my locks. They wave and curl; they
are not straight. Cannot be straightened. My androgyne reifies in my retina
in the crown of keratin. I should be pleased. I am. Now. Then, the act of hair
wavy yet immaculate makes me feel bliss. Kiss of warmth of sun and an apparel
for my hair. I feel my blood rise with Moca. Another warmth. Walking on
Stone pavements with my tousled hair and packed bag with coffee.
Loving the feeling of boots clicking on the pebble. Loving the motion
of walking — just walking. Feeling the independence of legs, of locomotion
— I am a being of hyperactivity — my hair flows out even with a hairband
and my clothes are loose and casual. Too casual. Like no metrosexual touch
upon me. No sense of the feminine fashionista. I still need potential for that.
yet my hair, the window and the walking are all potentials
these radicals of being that I didn’t think of always
when breathing winter’s air back in my native land in my youth
crisp tongued with a promise only realising 16 years later
like some sixteenth birthday come after
I study the leaves. I think of the hours I may browse the net
Study the contents of my books. Wait for the shipment of texts
to arrive in packages. Another potential.
my movement gains a stride; slight equations that make me feel complete.▬
the rain drank the sun; the day fingers a grey-dark ceremonial
like some ritualistic garb, aiming for some funereal demonstration
or a pilgrimage set in marble and the edification of a time forged
in multidimensional pathways — subtle yet interesting
the rain drank the sun yet her thirst not quenched
the satisfaction was not only in the light serein
gales and winds blew; night was hallowed with light
from the flames of thunders and the pools of lightnings
— there came an ocean; inverted but also sensuously foamed
Venus was birthed in foams, pearls and the oyster carapace
like that of the turtles that support the world — mythos mixes
like a fine precipitate in the analogies of extraction
from the foam of lust and love came the armour of the one sheathed
and daggered; your love was not merely a hypothesis
it was a dissertation written in rain
and what writ in water is eaten by the earth and evolves; never dies.▬
there is a discord in my veins
when I can’t sleep at night
when I feel that the darkness is
equivalence to my solemnity
but also the rhapsody of my prayers
there is nothing to shy away from the day
only insubordinate time with its longings
and unkept wishes; I can’t garden time
though I wish I could kill its weeds
gently and feel it snap at the touch of my fingers
these fingers hungry for some communion
with the diary of dreams and the origami
of sensuality nipped lightly by the logic
of the moon in parallels with the stars.—
What is this feeling we call boredom?
— was it always a paradox?
should be; life is in the roots
in the air — zigzagging between the nodes
in some membranous digits
and some pockets
the chemistry of boredom can only be measured
when you have really lived; or vicariously searched
through the folders of lives in some others’ kitchens
— the image, the simulacrum — those bread crumbs
that led you to some candied house — were you some
anorexic dandy fidgeting on some other street
tiptoeing through the woods
and the urban sprawls
you seem like a nightingale; singing some memory
of a future. Your posterity begins, when you fold boredom
and piecemeal it with the wings — you know you are borne
and bound to take off — outside yourself and inside yourself
ennui is a happenstance; struggle the happiness.▬
Now that I have established certain stuff I hope it gets to you in an important. If not, no matter — I have some more pointers. If you already knew the previous rules, more power to you. If not, try to incorporate them in your life in whatever customised or direct way you want and need. There is a reason I highlighted those words. Your wants and needs are important too. Though, your wants and needs also can be hierarchal. You must balance them accordingly to get a process going and get results. More on that later.
Onwards to new things that perhaps will be helping for you with writing. In the last segment I had shown you that writing is a psychosomatic, emotional and spatial skill. It interacts with other skills, with you and your environment. I have written how the word innate should not mean fast/rapid/genetic in your repertoire. People can be gifted but so can gifts be earned and attained. I am reviewing this because this is something that must be constantly reviewed. It will stick, then unstick, then stick again only to unstick once more. And again, more on that later.
You may have to work with people who are unpleasant or unpleasant towards you. Usually, it can be latter than the former. If it is the former you can sometimes talk about this person with some other colleague who is a confidant. However, doing so regularly may a) jeopardise your job as no one can fully be trusted in the work space and b) cause you to create more toxicity by making your complaints a habit. Trust me. We all may have been there and we don’t want that.
If it’s the latter know that you don’t have to interact with this person beyond the minimum. Keep your interactions work related and respond only when particularly referred to. If this is your boss then choose select words and let your work do the talking for you. Do not reiterate anything much or try to seem over enthusiastic because toxic people use that opportunity to shoot you down and even publicly humiliating you. Do not tone down too much either nor else they will choose to be especially unpleasant and give you poor performance reviews.
If this person actively complains about you to your other bosses consult someone you can trust and change sectors or jobs if need be. Chances are that you will be happier and more productive in the new area. You have to prioritise your productivity and passions. Do not waste any of it on toxic people. Toxic people are not completely avoidable. This is just life. You will meet them in social media, in family, friends and even spouses.
If it is social media you can always ignore them or blocked them. If these are reviews then set the “no review” box for a while and even “non anon.” If this is family try to gradually lessen your interactions with them so that you can well not feel guilty or allow them to guilt trip you to go back to their toxic traps. Importantly, if they are parents you can really lessen your interactions with them. If you are being Abused. CALL SOCIAL SERVICES OR THE POLICE AND GET HELP.
Now, the other important parts. If toxic people are friends, you have to do what Anne Lamott said in her book Bird by Bird — your friendship needs a sabbatical. Seriously, if you feel you can’t cut them out think you are taking a sabbatical from your friendship. Sometimes toxic behaviour is also passive or indifferent behaviour. Such as not giving attention to your texts, not including you or showing any signs of elation when seeing or interacting with you. Then there is passive aggressive behaviour. Passive Aggressive behaviour is hard to stomach because it is a statement designed a joke or abstraction to still bruise you. You need to resist or stay away from these types of behaviour as much as possible. Friends are meant to enrich your life not make you feel like you are an abyss of uselessness.
If your spouse does this either go to couples counseling or seriously rethink the relationship. Your spouse/partner is not meant to belittle, humiliate, berate and ambush you with guilt all the time. Gaslighting and manipulating you is AN ABUSE. So, don’t stay with these people. PLEASE GET HELP ASAP.
The reasons I stated this is because toxic people like haters and trolls will debilitate and distract you from writing. If writing is your joy they will belittle it and they will try to ruin your work. Renowned novelist Buchi Emecheta had an abusive husband. When she wrote her first draft of Bride Price and gave it for her husband to read, she came back and saw him burning the manuscript. Yes, that did happen. That is how violent and toxic her ex-husband was.
You don’t need partners like that. Or environments like that. They will first feed parasitically on your writing and this will effect and eventually lead to other parts of you. Your writing is not only your passion, it allows you to gain privileges and opportunities and give you work. In the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport he didn’t support passion so that is why I called writing also work. His reasons are actually credible. Passion, he states, is a side effect of mastery so that ties into how innateness does not equate much in the long run. And, a spouse who doesn’t take your work seriously is not going to take seriously other avenues of your life. By work here I also mean your efforts to master talents, your needs and wants and efforts at communication, habits you try to inculcate, and also your personality and beliefs.
Toxic people and environments may ultimately ruin your needs and wants to master your craft. They are sometimes more dangerous than haters and trolls because they have a certain sense of closeness and intimacywith you, which they shamelessly take advantage of. If haters and trolls are clever and lack courage the toxic people are cowardice magnified. They also take the discrimination of cleverness and mutate it to entitlement. They feel that as they are with you they are entitled to behave with you in any way they please.
Don’t suffer from this garbage and take a stand for yourself to resist and avoid as much as possible. So yes the sticking and unsticking come here a bit. Toxic people and environments make you doubt yourself a lot and let you cave in to defeating pressure. Yeah, there is positive pressure. The feeling the demanding need to write and write as heartily and skillfully as one can at the moment.
So for your health tied to your writing stay away from toxicity as much as possible and resist it whenever the opportunities present themselves.
The reason I am saying this is that writing is a muscle and that it needs development and stimulation. Now, you may be thinking if I have writer’s block how can I be stimulated? Well, do other things. Or better yet start free writing. Take out your journal or Document and just start writing/typing random things and you will sure to get ideas. These writings do not need to final products or anything perfect. They can be to do lists or 40 best songs you liked or movies or even books. Write out your feelings of toxic people, your anxieties, your triumphs, etcetera and you are sure to get something.
Writing is a balance of passive and active nodes. Thinking alone about writing ideas usually don’t help. Thinking can also be passive because the mind is not stimulated enough to get somewhere. Free Writing can also be passive because it doesn’t have a necessary goal. However, both can be active too gradually. When I first started writing these writing tips I didn’t completely know how I would go about it. I still don’t know but I kept on writing and the ideas gradually came. If I stuck to only thinking and planning alone it may have taken longer. Yes, I thought out the headings and such and some of the chunks but not everything.
That is why I mentioned the hierarchy of desire and wants. Writing will not always operate on those things. Writing like any habit and skills needs time, dedication, discipline, patience and reiteration. If you are a victim of your moods and always get easily seduced by them writing will believe you are a player and not interested in a relationship (yeah, I went there). You need to understand that as there is no true innate quality to writing there is no ideal hour, moment, time or whatever for writing either.
Writing is paradoxical because human beings are paradoxical. Writing is sometimes born and borne out of great frustration and misery and flicks off your happy pastures world. Writing at times scowls at decay and looks for pure Nirvana. Writing is concrete in its form but relative in its act of conception. It creates its own ideals and mixes other generally thought out ones. It may sometimes strive in purity which can also be chaos and at times live in greys which can be a ordinary day in the park.
Don’t think that you need a mood always to write. You don’t need a mood always to breathe? It is as Scout said in To Kill a Mocking Bird. Reading to her was breathing. And, how do you breathe. You do it continuously. Now, I am not saying burn yourself out by writing. I am just giving a loose analogy. You don’t always breathe deeply and loudly so take writing also as gradual breathing which may sometimes stay nice and stable as though you are in a dream, sometimes peak up as you are being athletic and sometimes even be “soggy” like you are in a flu. You are writing about life so writing won’t be excised from life.
Like Life writing also needs other avenues than your thoughts to be feed. It needs experiential stuff, segments from classrooms, snippets in cafes and the smell of coffee and the warmth of tea, the kiss of a lover, the kiss of a stranger, the theories of betrayal and actual betrayals, the concatenation of pearls in a bracelet, the mathematical equation you learned the other day, your dissertation, your lab assignment and even the joke you told your friend.
Writing stems from all of these. Writing is the nodes of you as you go through life. Writing is the anatomy of your body, the curvatures of your spirit and the oceans of your soul with the forests of your thoughts and subconscious — writing is the braille of time and the alphabets of your spine dancing in unison to some track that is in your head and the cusp in your heart. Thus writing requires discipline, effort, time and dedication.
As you are analogous to your writing (if not themes or characters then certainly the process) than like you writing needs proper nourishment and nurturing. And your moods erratically firing off won’t always help.
Be consistent as much as possible. And I mean a healthy consistent. Write in a day or two days. Write small quotes. Plan projects and try your best to finish them.
The more respect, time and attention you give to writing (a healthy amount because you need to take yourself and do other things) the more your writing will respect you and feel like listening to you.
~ To Be Continued
I been writing for 16 years now. I know it may not seem like a long time but I do believe that because I was writing this long, both consistently at times and intermittently at others, that I have gotten some experience. My experience may or may not help others but I think writing down some points is always good.
What have I written?
I have written my own stories, poetry and I have written fanfiction.
I started writing my own original short stories and fanfiction. Many people may not like writing fanfiction. There are reasons for not liking fanfiction. However, I do not agree with it not being serious writing. Fanfiction is not always smut writing or attempts at erotica. It can be very well defined and detailed, and at times, supersede the original work or give it layers that the original did not support.
I have learned that fanfiction can be analytical writing. It is a form of essaying into what we perceive and what can be done with characters and plots. Fanfiction writing is also a form of sandbox. The term sandbox is more popular with coders because it is a test sheet in which they can experiment with code and try things out. Fanfiction many not always be a scratch sheet but in the beginning it does serve to others a form of blueprint in how to navigate the writing/writer’s arena. So, I do not discourage fanfiction. It is through our passions for creativity, reflected in others’, that sometimes we find our own voices.
Now, as I have gotten that aside I want to write down some points that may be of use to you. These points are not rule of thumb and you are free to customise them whichever way suits your needs. They are meant to orient you to writing and how you can shape yourself better as a writer. Some of these tips are things to help bring out a mindset for writing. Others are involved in the body of writing.
What is important is that you learn this now. No matter what your age, 17, 19, 22, 27 or 37 or 64 get it out of your system as much as possible that innate ability is this incomparable reservoir of creativity that you are born with and that only some people have it and others don’t. Even the most “gifted” people need to practice. Our mainstream cultures have a tendency to portray the “gifted” as someone who easily gets things. They are so awesome they get it in a few minutes or their first attempt is successful as anything. Look, life isn’t some anime where the shougo heroine or shounen hero gets to level up so fast and achieve greatness in one go. Nor is it a scene from Good Will Hunting. We may admire and love movies like Good Will Hunting but it is not necessarily real.
Even genius has a process and requires experience. If you don’t believe think about Will in the film. Despite his gifts he squanders most of them and initially is reticent in getting into his passions because he fears rejection and he wants to socially fit in. He may have an innate ability for mathematics but he does poorly socially and even interpersonally. Not to mention, he is in denial about himself and his own insecurities and pain. Then he does practise mathematics. It’s not like he doesn’t. He reads books, tries to learn more. Yes, because it is a film we don’t get to see the process but it’s there.
Innate ability may have some merit but practice and understanding usually play a major role in expanding yourself. So, please get it out of your head that you cannot do something because you are not innately good at it. This is a self-defeating and procrastinating attitude. Even I have it and try to get rid of it. It is also a relaxed attitude — I dare say lazy. We cannot ascribe to our passions without any sort of trial or effort. Struggles, small and large, make the process meaningful and salient.
Sometimes, the more mistakes we do learning allows us the greater avenue of success. We may not want to try something for fear of all the long hours of work, fear of failure and fear of the unknown. These are all natural fears. But what is also natural is you overcoming them. These fears are not a fatality. You have the power to make them insignificant by showing the fears who is boss. Your fears should not master you; you should master them.
If you do not like the idea of mastering them then think of fear as little sprites that are naughty and a bit hyperactive. Think of them as naive and sweet beings that are hungry for your attention. They could even be parasitic. Give them a glass of milk, feed them some cookies and send them outside to play or to bed. The thing is that fears and even the reluctance to do hard work will becoming damaging as you keep on going in life. Hard work does pay off. That is the age old rule that actually does stick and work.
Understand your craft and work hard. Only you can for your stories, writing and any other passions you may have. Do not think that the Valkyries will suddenly sing and the gates of Valhalla will open and you will drink ambrosia and be gifted with the Midas touch. Even Midas had to be king before he got his touch and there had to be warriors for Valhalla to appear and the Valkyries to know the songs they would soon compose and fight alongside to. Don’t aspire to get to chapter 10 before you haven’t even done chapter 1. The only innate thing you can truly possess with some certainty is your perseverance and endurance. There will be bad days and there will be good days. Take them all as the climbing steps for progress.
Writing is no different than this. Sometimes, you may be in the drawing board for hours, days, weeks or months. It can take years to finally even find your voice and style. This is the same with art. This is not saying you cannot get it faster. Sometimes, our other skills help the one we are trying to foster. So, don’t think if you are a certain age you cannot learn writing. As I said before the only innate you can be completely sure about is perseverance and endurance.
Now, here is the thing. Not everyone can do what you do. This is a truth. And, it is a fact. Not everyone will have the guts to well write or even try to write and then show it to others. This takes some form of courage if not confidence. You must remember that not everyone inculcates or teaches themselves this form of courage. Yes, courage can be taught. Everything in the world is learned via the tutelage of different forms. The people who cannot do this actually learn something else. They learn cleverness. Cleverness is not always a good quality because it can discriminate and be very partial to others other than oneself. When people are spouting vitriolic about your work they are aspiring to be clever. That is why a comeback can be clever but may not fully be honest or helpful.
Haters have no courage. They do not know how to have it. What they have is venom and cleverness in abundance. Remember firstly a hater mostly hates themselves. A person cannot be this acerbic to a work without some acerbity towards themselves. If you have not written a nasty opinion which is mired in racism, queerphobia, xenophobia, sexism, misogyny, misandry, transphobia and discrimination of any sort there is no reason for anyone to hate your work this passionately. Usually, people who have enlightened opinions are enlightened in their critique. If you are young or not well informed about something people will first approach you with the benefit of the doubt.
Haters and trolls are a subset of a new age tabloidism, in that they are sensationalist, melodramatic and full of spite for themselves and others. A good example of this is the anonymous message service in Tumblr. I do receive a good amount of anon hate and have received them for some years. I don’t really let it faze me anymore. Haters hate me because they can. It is not a need or a desire. It is built on a false consumption of a choice. Instead of choosing to fulfil their lives and instead of making themselves better to the image they aspire to be they are wasting their time and yours by hating on you. They don’t know and many a times they don’t know your work intimately or informatively either. They are just people with a grudge who want to vent. Instead of choosing healthier ways to do that, they choose to be toxic. Toxicity is not your priority; creativity is. So, don’t listen to the haters.
A teacher of mine recently stated that it is also social/human nature to drag others down. If you can do something or have the passion to want to do something be prepared to meet a few people that will tell you, you can’t. I wish I knew this back when I was 16 or 17. I remember those times social media was young and I posted poems on Facebook. One guy, who I tagged as a friend, always use to say some of the most rude comments about my work. He would ascribe them to be that of a emo, 3rd grader with no creativity. I remember calling my best friend then, young as I was, at night and crying to her. She consoled me and told me not to take this personally. So, I approached him and said that there was no need to be so hostile towards my work if he didn’t like it. The reply was nice but it pointed out my flaws instead of his. Saying he should have remembered that I was a bit of a softie and not taking responsibility for his actions.
In retrospect, I am happy he did do that. It proved the thing my teacher said. If I asked him if he could do better or write better I am sure he couldn’t have. If he honestly answered he couldn’t come close to what I was writing then. So what if it was emo and angsty; that is common and normal for a teenager. Especially, for a teenager who have faced abused most of their life. It may seem emo to him but could he write of his own injustices this way? When we write we are also doing something therapeutic. Meaning: important to our socio-physical, emotional and psychological well being. A hater knows this and their cruelty is like a thief they attack this vulnerability of yours. Remember their vulnerability, not power, is also their attack on you. Treat it as such.
Jeanette Winterson said that poetry is important because a tough life needs a tough language. She is completely correct. People who can do better have a portfolio either professional or otherwise of doing better. Their words are concomitant to their actions. Their words are also usually clear that aside hate they know what they are talking about. They show knowledge in their criticism. Haters usually nag, whine, complain and give cheap opinions.
Haters are ironically also your most avid fans because they stalk your work and social media accounts with the chance to bully you. If you did stop doing what you do for the sake of them their triumph is short lived and they want you back so soon. You are their pinata and they miss you like anything. More so than a lover. They are codependent and parasitic. So, don’t stop writing for haters. Haters will hate whatever you write. Even if you write something in synchronicity with The Theory of Everything they will still hate your guts. They lack their own so like vultures they pick at yours.
Haters gonna Hate. Writers Gonna Write.
There is no true set limit to a skill. Your life is not Sims so that you master skills and then you have nothing to do. Life is ready and ripe with opportunities and for you and you are also there for it. It is important to take criticisms not as — and this is very important — as an evaluation on yourself. Ad hominem arguments usually come from haters where they build you up as a straw man and try to burn you like an effigy. Constructive criticism is meant to help you put final touches or at least help you along your road of success.
Think about the block of wood I spoke about earlier. After carving it out someone notices it could use more varnish, or some wood chips are unevenly out or that one side is engraved too much. These are all said to make your work look more aesthetically pleasing and also substantial. You have the guts to write something then you also organically have the guts to take this. Trust me. Constructive criticism is meant to tie up courage and confidence. That is why writers online also have beta readers. Beta readers are the text audience who are going to see how your writing is flowing. These are all normal aspects of writing. Do not be discouraged by them.
When I was 14-19 I had a hard time taking constructive criticism. I haven’t fully mastered it yet but at that time I was completely reluctant to take it. It was not necessarily pride that stopped me it was the inability to understand what my audience was saying. I was young, inexperienced and immature. My audience was telling me not to be so experimental with my writing style. This was for fanfiction writing. Obviously, the demographic may want something different. Yet, as I got older I decided to incorporate some of the advice they have been saying. It worked better for me too. I mean I realised I couldn’t finish projects because I was demanding too much of myself in one place which could also serve as a constrained medium.
Saying that, I am also happy I experimented. That I took long to listen to their advice. This may seem contrary to what I stated but it is not. See, I was young and discovering aspects of my voice and style. I terribly needed to do what I did. It was a form of catharsis that literally helped me mentally, emotionally, psychologically and physically. We all have moments like this and we all need them. Seizing these moments is seizing life as well. To understand better who we are and what we are doing and also the why and how we are doing.
It is your job as the writer to actually understand what constructive criticism you would need and what you wouldn’t. Think about a mathematics problem. They say certain things about it that could be excess information. But for you to make x and y you don’t need everything. Mathematics is also about context, elimination and extraction as much as writing is. So, you take what you feel is necessary and you could use to improve yourself. And, things you don’t you ruminate on them later or don’t engage with them as much.
Your responsibility as a writer is to write and to write well in how and what you write. You don’t always need to listen to what a reader or reviewer is saying if you feel they are going antithetical to your ideas and writing goals. That doesn’t give you the right to be rude with them. It allows you to understand other perspectives and how you can better write your messages across. If a reviewer or reader gives a suggestion or desperately wants something you don’t have to cave in to their wishes. This is something I learned the hard way too. Your story may be different than their expectations and that is actually good. If you were to write only for their expectations what would you learn or what would they?
So, the idea is to map out those comments and extricate the meat of it and eschew the rest. You don’t always have to feel the pressing need that you may lose a fan if you don’t write by their standards. You may actually lose the respect of your fan if you always cave in to what they want. They may disregard your ideologies and philosophies because they feel you are governed more with a nature to please than to persist. And persist you shall with your own autonomy. No person is a locked island though so obviously the tides of criticism are needed but they may also abate to see the coastlines of your writing shores.
Take advice wisely. Remember that the writing is coming from you and no one else. You have a better grasp on the realities and expectations of the writing than anyone else can so you should write them out as such. Do not let peer pressure or even the pressure of ratings malign your course of action.
~ To be continued