37. A Story Somewhere


There is this bulging, pulsing, growing yearning inside me. It expands a little more every time I arrive at the end of an amazing book, every time I read or hear or watch something about an author I look up to, every time I lay my hands on a freshly acquired piece of literature.

It is the urge to pen my own story.

But it is a mess up there in the literary, creative part of my brain. There are partial, undefined, crippled blobs and pieces of plots and story lines shooting off in every direction, smashing into each other, entangling the entire space into a spiderweb-like pandemonium. Some spin off into the dark, never to be seen again. Others in such a primordial state, I don’t even know if they will ever develop into anything substantial. And then there are those that spiral so out of control it doesn’t even make any human sense.

There are characters with half-formed faces and bodies, with one-and-a-half arms flailing about, and hopping on one leg, blindly trying to find the other missing parts of them. They have immature, flat, underdeveloped personalities. Their hair and eye colours undergo continuous, nonstop metamorphosis, flip-flopping between black, brown, blond, red, pink, blue, green, and otherworldly shades. They fight each other like two hungry alpha lions over the last gazelle on Earth, punching others in the gut, screaming at the top of their lungs, creating a mess on the walls with crayons of every imaginable colour.

Then there are the landscapes. One minute it’s a sprawling metropolis of bustling cars and busy people, and the next it’s some terrain filled with gurgling, flesh-eating trees and winged pandas and pigs. There are wide-open spaces of distant mountains and never-ending grasslands. There are houses filled with antiques and strange sounds and an attic that contains infinite possibilities.

Finally, there are the words. Those mischievous, conniving, sly, elusive blocks of letters that are the keys to locking down all this mess as well as my Achilles’ Heel. They are their own brand of creative hell. They are never there when I need them, especially those more bombastic, high-minded vocabulary like cantankerous or phantasmagoria. Instead of being at the ready, they leave my outreached hands empty and me, desperately gasping for air. They are like supersonic fast little rug-rats. One minute they are sitting innocently and adorably on that baby chair with a big toothy grin. You turn around for a split second and the next minute their giggles dissolve with the distance they’ve gained from you.

So all I can do is endure nights of restless tossing and turning, and days of endless glazed looks out the window, daydreaming about that one magnificent day when I would emerge victorious, from putting the final touches to my story, a complete work of fiction that encompasses all of who I am and what I believe in, characters and landscapes that blossomed from the deepest recesses of my mind, a legacy born from my own time, sweat and tears.

A tale that is all my own.


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