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Sunday, 18 September 2011

My Struggle Against Silence

As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a gangster. Wait, no. That's Henry Hill. Me? I've always wanted to be a writer. I remember writing a short story in fourth grade, a little hazy to me now but I think it had to do with a village of talking rabbits, that really impressed my teacher. The comment on the story was that I was a natural storyteller and that I should keep at it. Long after the story I wrote dissipated in my memories, that comment has stuck with me like a rare earth magnet sticks to a fridge. I continued to write throughout school, always performing decently in English classes, but never really taking it too seriously, as in something I could shape into a career at some point. Even in my youth, I never considered writing as a viable option that could pay the bills. (I still don't today, but I am one step closer).

Have you ever had a thought that niggles in the back of your mind like a termite slowly chewing away at a load-bearing rafter in your house? I sure have. I've always scoffed at the idea of writing a book. It's a waste of time, a Herculean task that I could never accomplish. And if I did, so what? Who on earth would publish it? It'll probably be terrible anyways. Still the idea persisted, gnawing away at me, but I continued to stifle it. About a year ago, I decided to banish these negative thoughts. I have no idea why, but I felt the urge to actually do what I've always wanted to do, to make happen what I've never really thought possible. There was no inspiring speech, no words of wisdom, that changed my mind. More like a switch that got turned on in my brain.

So where do I go from here? No man is an island says John Donne. There's no way I could possibly do this by myself. Combing the Internet finding writers' blogs has become an addiction, and reading about other aspiring authors miseries has actually done wonders for me! At least I know I'm not completely alone. And next week, I am attending the first of a series of six writing workshops where I hope to meet like-minded, similarly inspired but also suffering would-be writers. Maybe we can sit around and trade war stories about writers block and discarded fourth drafts we knew were going nowhere the moment we put pen to paper. Validity through peers has never been something I have actively sought out, but now I cling to it like a mountain climber clings to a lifesaving outcrop of rock. I am excited about the prospect of sharing my fiction with other people, about hearing their thoughts and ideas, but at the same time, I'm slightly terrified.

Until quite recently, every time I sat down at my computer to write, I'd delete it afterwards. No matter how I felt about what I'd written, my reflex was to send it to the virtual trash bin. Not all of it was bad, but I never wanted another pair of eyes to grace anything I had written. Hell, it's a struggle just to write about my struggles about writing, i.e. this entire post. It's telling that my first instinct was not to publish this at all. But I suppose it's good to air one's frustrations on occasion; to exorcize the demons, so to speak.

I plan on doing further entries about the process of writing and the pains and (hopefully) rewards that come with doing something you have a true passion for, no matter how crazy it seems. By doing so, I hope to finally become somebody I've always wanted to be.

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