08 June 2012

Confessions of a writer

I am a computer scientist damnit!

I am supposed to be capturing data and transforming it into linked lists, studying their complexity and writing time sharing algorithms for execution by the kernel. But I write. I write and I write. I don’t write in C or Java or any other of those languages that Bill Gates & his ilk bequeathed upon us. I write in the language of Shakespeare and Shaw. I dream in metaphors like Oscar Wilde and poetry soothes me like the sound of music does a restless baby.

My fingers are never happier than when they are racing across my keyboard creating worlds and lives. My mind is never sharper than when it is imagining the lives of characters brought to life with the stroke of a key and killed by the time it takes to get to the spacebar. I write with the reckless abandon, opinions, beliefs of a deranged mind. No cow is too holy not to be explored, to not have its inner being laid bare on the page for all the world. What do I care of political systems or the private parts of South African presidents? If they make for interesting reading I will write about them. What do I care for a thousand years of religious dogma? If my character Anna does not believe in it, then so be it.

And so it is. So it is and so it shall be. I write to let loose the demons and angels that fight in my heart for release. I write to let the tears that I cannot allow to flow down my face to flow down the page. I write like I am possessed by the spirit of a little boy in India wondering if the tiger will be his next reincarnation. I write like that white farmer who watched a hundred years of his family’s heritage burn down in what is called reformation. I write like the lover lying in bed, his body yearning for release but his loved a thousand miles away. I write like the street kid sitting on the street corner begging for just five rands to buy his lunch. Just five rands.

I write for those who shall never have a voice. I write with my voice; a voice which is voiceless at times. A voice caught in the strict trappings of social dictate or supressed beneath the hierarchy of power in real life. On the page it is a voice that is as loud as the voice of God; a voice that can strike fear through the coal black blood of my pen bleeding life onto the page. I write as a scream to the world that doesn’t hear my voice, or perhaps to the world that does? I do not care. Listen if you will, what you make of it is not my business. That is up to you. Open your mind and let me in, let me wreck havoc with your beliefs, let me play with your best china and smile as I let it slip through my fingers and come crashing down at your feet.
I write because if I didn’t I would explode. These thoughts that race through my head have to have somewhere to go. They have to have somewhere to go to. I write because I am a witness to a life that is mine, a life perhaps that deserves to be witnessed by the page. Our silent pact. Our shared secret. Take, blessed and broken the words of my life. Take them, blessed and broken the tears of my heart. Take them broken and blessed the whispers of my heart. Do what you will with them O page, I cannot carry them in my heart forever.

I write as if possessed, words explode out of me as if from another being. I try to ignore them but if I do for too long my life begins to withdraw from itself. I hear noises in the middle of a silent room or silence in the heart of noise. I see glimpses of a world half lost, and I know I must find it. I sit to write with a vague inkling of what will come out of the page and lose myself. As if in a trance, the words march out in front of me, little soldiers in my army, preparing to wage war on reality. It is a sweet, sweet relief; like finding an oasis in a desert, or finally peeing after holding it in for too too long.

And then it is done. I have given birth to a page. Or twenty pages. Or a hundred pages. It matters not. All that matters is that within those pages I have captured something. I have hunted down through the wild forests of imagination a mythical creature and tamed it with my pen. Now it lies there, tamed but still dangerous to any who dares to enter the confines of the story. Dares to leave this reality with all its neat borders and rounded curves and comes to confront my creature. Perhaps you shall tame it? Perhaps it shall tame you? Who knows? I certainly do not. Neither do I care. My job is done. I have written. I can go to sleep. I am human once more.


When I am gone those words shall remain. When my bones have been ground to dust by the winds of time, those words shall remain. When the world has been ravaged by the hounds of hell and the heart of a million suns has torn the skins from our flesh, those words shall remain. Those words shall remain. The pen is mightier than the sword. Its words shall remain. 

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