April 07, 2012

THE WRITER’S CURSE

We will not find the cure.

From the time our gifts are discovered we will begin a journey that promises to end in greatness of some kind. Maybe we will write a great book, make an earth- shattering discovery or save a precious soul. Destiny will be the beginning and the end, the exodus and the promised landWe will not see the journey ahead. The one fraught with bouts of self- doubt, procrastination, lack of money, shortage of motivation, even laziness.  We will not see our battles, the bloody fights that will tear down our confidence or the dusty rubble from which we will rebuild our sense of self. We will not see the besetting fear we were immune to in childhood or the crippling worry that once couldn't harm us. We will forget who we are and need to be reminded, we will use up our innocence and need to recover our virginity.

We will find the writer’s curse.

We will often be plagued by a dose of Narcissism. We will take our work like we take ourselves- seriously.  It will be personal. We will use hours, even days to write 500 words worth of wordsmithery. The world might disagree with what we say it is and call it an essay or article. Although we would rather refer to it as a piece of work or a work of heart, we would not complain. It will take us hours to marinate in a subject, hours to contain thought in expression, hours to finish what we have started , hours to read what we have written and more hours to destroy what we have done. We will enter battles with norms of English language- should we change “that” to “which”? We will second guess ourselves removing a “the” one minute only to re-insert it the next. We will be caught by inspiration at random moments; at the start of a productive writhe while we enjoy a good shit or at the touch of warm water to our outer layer.

It will not be our fault. It is the curse.

Writing will be like having children, we will remember each work by name. It will be our life. It will capture our essence and take our time, life, life time. We will hope that the ones who meet our work meet us in it. That they understand that life would have felt meaningless, talent would have felt wasted and time would have passed us by if we hadn't done it. We will face the reality that when the reader holds our work in his hands, he might presume his duty is to judge it or form an opinion of us with it and eventually he will discard it and move on with his life.

The blame will not be his to take. It is the curse.

Reading reviews will be a sickness with no cure.  It will matter what they thought of us..... our work, us. We will check every blog comment and read as many badly written critiques as we can stomach. We will want to explain why a sentence was that way. No, it had nothing to do with the rules of English! It was about what we saw, what we felt, what we thought and what we were taught by what we saw, felt,......what was deep in thought. Because it happened to us, because our experiences chose only us, we will wonder who they think they are to criticize, who they really think they are and who the hell they are.

We are not unwell. It is the curse.

Some of our critics will cruelly trap us in the world we create. If we write about heart break, we have to be heartbroken. If we write about love, they will insist on wishing us and the supposed object of our inspiration well. It will not suffice that a well-teased mind, a well- fed eye and a well- practiced ear is enough. They will not be able to tell the difference when life inspires art and when art reports life.

It is not their fault, it is the curse.

On and on we will write, not with pen or paper but with heart and soul. The hours will fly by while we fuel with self the labor for our honest fruit. Bodies will go unwashed, stomachs will fall silent unfed, and friends will get lost unattended.

It is not us. It is the curse.

Our articles will take only a few minutes to read, our novels a few days to shelve, our blogs a few clicks to finish. The reader will smile or cry; scoff maybe insult. If we are lucky, he might give our name a glance or duff his hat to us but soon he forgets.

It is not him. It is the curse.

“What did you expect?” the world will ask. Recognition? Money? Fame? Influence? Praise? Comments? Like the laborer who bares his back to the sky and tills the ground till the sun tires of watching, we will labor with words, thoughts and blank pages. Possessed by dreams of glory and hoping to leave a legacy, we will fight the drudgery and pen painstakingly minutiae emotion, fleeting feeling, fading memory, diverging lines of thought and conflicting points of view.


Don't mind us. It is the curse.


Sometimes we will think we should quit but yet do not. It will be as though Destiny is at hand to fulfil itself according to what is written and what is appointed in the womb of time.   Our lives will be different. Our ability will carve a life for us in a future that accomplishes it. It will design a future for a life that uses it. 


We are not odd, we are not queer. It is the curse

Although our craft will not be easy, in it we will find a strange enjoyment. A pride in our work. Our toiling will bequeath to us our uniqueness, our authenticity- a quiet knowledge of our dignity. We will have a voice, a taste, a feel. To us will be given the realm of thought and the power to see.  We will learn and teach, write and read, live and tell.

And in the end it will not matter if the reader took and did not return, did not reuse, did not affirm; it will not matter if he bought, stole or borrowed; photocopied, plagiarized or pharaphrased; commented, liked or followed; subscribed, retweeted or quoted. What will matter is that the gift was meant for giving and we gave. Indeed the important matter will be that this gift was first gifted to us and we made a life just for us with it.

And maybe we  will never write a book that will change the world, influence a culture or affect an era; maybe our talent will never raise us to prominence, renown or wealth, but to us it will matter that we did something with what we were blessed with- this curse.










See how I got inspired to write this here and here

17 comments:

  1. I can relate to a whole lot written here and yes, the "should we change “that” to “which”?" happens sooo often. Beautifully written, thumbs up!

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  2. HI Ene, Welcome to my blog! Thanks for commenting!!! I beg for those sometimes lol! Yeah it's some sort of crazy to vacillate between those two words sometimes! But I don't know anything else that sharpens the intellect and puts pressure on you to think like writing! Gotta love it!

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  3. I actually prefer to call my ability and drive to write a blessing. It gives me joy, both when I am writing and after I have released it to the reading audience. But I feel you. :)

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  4. what a curse!!! choi....well written dear. Am sure your fellow cursed brothers and sisters will find this interesting. xx

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  5. 'We will enter battles with norms of English language- should we change “that” to “which”? We will second guess ourselves removing a “the” one minute only to re-insert it the next...

    It will not be our fault. It is the curse.'

    Interestingly, it is in tweaking the finished work that the writer flirts most with greatness. Those final days and weeks spent polishing a done deal could move it from the Warehouse of the Good to the Gallery of the Great... ;-)

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  6. How true- the tweaking can take forever and you'll always find something to work on if you look hard enough! But ah, there's always the reward of excellence to keep one tweaking, tweaking and tweaking again. That said I am sincerely honoured to have the opinion of renown author, Chuma Nwankolo on my blog- A great honour Sir! *tips her hat*

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  7. I like this post, and it does resonate in many ways! Slaving on a story for days and weeks, only to have someone read and dismiss it in five minutes is heartbreaking. But carry on writing, I must. Being a writer is who I am, and it gives me joy and fulfilment too.

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    1. " but carry on writing, I must"... The process through anything is not easy but what determines if we get there is if we persevere through the hard or uncomfortable parts of our hustle whatever it is. Thank you Tolu for the comment!

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  8. I can completely relate, theres always a smile on my face when I get a comment on my blog or a retweet of a request to write...I absolutely love it and long for it. I think it's a blessing and the waiting to be appreciated is where the pain is.

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    1. It's ridiculous how gratifying reading comments are or seeing your 2 cents retweeted, facebook liked or shared... I know!

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  9. I'm floored. There's a rhythm and a depth to your writing that is just plain awesome. I confess that I didn't expect this when I opened up your blog. But my oblivion has been swiftly replaced with compulsive hat-tipping. You're a really good writer, and the weird thing is... today, I actually mean that.

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    1. Awwww Atta, thank you for being sooo generous with your kind words.It leaves a very good feeling in my heart. Thank you for that.

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  10. I'm still mesmerized and hoping I don't overdo this, considering comments should be somewhat summarized. You've left me in awe of you and having met, I feel blessed in ways I can't explain to the lay man. I totally relate to penning painstakingly minutiae emotion, to drive your point home and trying not to overdo it @the same time; its a curse & yet a blessing, its good to know I'm not alone in the long, seemingly unappreciated, arduous journey where self gratification isn't a legal tender. You explained in details innermost thoughts I hold dear to myself, not for lack of want to share but of who would fully grasp in totality. You raped my thoughts, mind & supposed penmanship; I let you & enjoyed every min it lasted ;)

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  11. I Wasn't dreaming, atleast not all thru the night. I Wasn't. Omonaikee's verbiage redefines everything I stand for. I have to re-write bios & re-evaluate my supposed literary prowess, cos I just turned prey.

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  12. I feel as though you've just given the outside world an eye with which they can peep through the walls of our godlike minds and see the darker side of our beautiful-cursed divine nature. It's funny how this curse of ours is the rent that we have to pay, since our privileged minds have been counted worthy to be occupants in thought to such heights that only gods can attain... Lovely article. U speak d TRUTH. May ur pen never run dry and the shoots of inspired thought never seize to grow through the soil of ur beautiful mind... and crowd says AMEN!!! haha... ;)

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