I’m having trouble writing at the moment.
It is a horrible feeling. It’s as if somebody has stuffed me into a wet, warm wool sheath, so tight that I can not move. My armpits sweat, my brain becomes sluggish and sort of itchy. I can’t concentrate on anything, the simplest daily task becomes a chore and soon I can’t even do those. So, my house looks a mess which only contributes to the clutter in my head.
I refuse to use the B-word. I just don’t think it applies to me. (I am also afraid of jinxing myself by mentioning it, haha! Superstitious.) I don’t think it applies when you have a lot of ideas but have trouble executing them, or finding the best way to. I prefer the term ‘fuzziness’ for when this happens. It’s like an extreme state of indecision that affects every facet of your life. But maybe it’s just bollocks. Maybe it’s the B-word and I’m just trying to dress it up. Maybe it’s even the L-word. Laziness.
Be that as it may, that is what is happening to me now and it is excruciating. But I have discovered a sort of solution. It does not take care of the whole problem – that only happens when I push through the fuzziness, if I persist in writing something, anything just to keep my hand in, even if my brain is sweating bullets from trying to concentrate. Even when it is easier to bury myself in books and films – crucial to the writing process, but not the act of writing itself. Pushing through only goes some way to easing this fuzziness somewhat.
I’m talking about honesty. Emotional openness. It’s difficult to write anything worthwhile if you’re not open with yourself and your (intended) audience. This is very hard for me.
Before this blog, I started about three other anonymous ones which I abandoned and deleted as soon as people became interested in meeting me face-to-face. I was happy to share stories, both real and imagined, but I did not like the thought of people knowing which bits were real and which bits were not. I was funny – I like to make people laugh – but I avoided controversial subjects. I like to think that it is because I want people to get along, and I do. But I suppose at some point you just have to say ‘screw it’ and wade in. I’m not sure I am there yet.
I was careful not to let things slip in those blogs and that is hard. Because the act of writing involves risk. It involves putting bits of yourself out there for other people to peruse and enjoy or judge and disdain. You have to do this. It comes with the territory.
I am scared of this. The (not-so) funny thing is, I like to be open and honest in ‘real life’ sometimes to my own detriment. I just think the world would be a better place if people knew quickly what they were getting into. That way you call time on useless friendships before you’ve had a chance to really get comfortable.
This same level of honesty is difficult to achieve in writing. It’s partly because your audience on the internet or in a book or magazine becomes much more than a one-on-one. Your words can be replicated and shared quicker. The good thing is that since it’s in writing, your words will stay as you have written them. The bad news is that it’s in writing. Your words will stay as you have written them. Forever.
The other part of it is the whole Igbo girl/African woman thing. I really should listen to the Adichie talk on the subject but I have seen headlines. She apparently says something like ‘African women are taught to feel shame’ and she’s right. I carry more shame than I know what to do with. I am intensely aware of what my written words can do to my family, or people’s perceptions of my family. I worry about things that are not my fault, things that I had no control over. I worry about those that I did have control over. I have made a lot of crap decisions that I am unwilling to admit to anyone. And yet they influence what I write about. They have to. But I still cannot dip a toe into the waters of those memories. I’m so afraid of what will happen.
I like to think I am imaginative. But I am so flipping constipated with real world events that my imagination is…is…is…I am not sure what it is. Is it gone or has it only retreated like a snail into its shell?
Ugh. I have reached my threshold of talking about myself. I am going to shake things up soon I think. This cannot continue, scaredy cat though I am. A friend advised me to write it all down, and change names and dates later and I suppose he has a point. I don’t know if I will do this in one chunk, I might let my voice come through a little at a time. I must cast off these masks and personae that are my stock-in-trade. I must also close two other blogs that are left, heehee!
My point is, don’t judge me when you see my stories. I make a LOT of shit up. But there will also be things I will not make up. And that’s okay too. At least it should be. Being any other way is killing me (my creativity).
And if you do judge me, screw you. Hopefully with that stick you’ve got up your bum.
There. I said it.