Tag Archives: inspiration

To Read and to Dance.

Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.

         – Voltaire

What a very dangerous thing to say, when the dance is the most cunning seductress, and the book the most lethal weapon.

Nothing is more dangerous than a well-read mind behind a beautiful face and dancing eyes.

Nothing is more tempting than a wordsmith, borrowing the words of poets, old and new, backed by echoing voices of the past.

And nothing is more beautiful than two small, bare, female feet, dancing their way into the unthinking heart to the tune of ancient words, bearing it “ceaselessly into the past”.

But let us read, and let us dance…whatever harm may come; for me, there never will exist nobler endeavours.

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I Write Because

I write because I love it. I love the words and how my inner voice recites each word I write like poetry. I love how, as I’m writing now, I hear the music flowing through my ears and my head; the rhythm of my sentences unfettered verse. I write because I feel the words streaming like blood out of my veins. My soul heaves out each word, expression, sentence; every comma, dash, or full-stop.

I write because it makes me feel alive. I feel my heart race, my blood pumping, as the scene unfolds before me. I feel like a creator; the creator of that universe. But so, so human all the while. There is no other moment where I am as alive or human as the moment when I write. There is no moment where I bleed more profusely than the moment where my words become black letters on a page. There is no moment where my muscles tense up, stretch, and flex so hard; no moment where I race as fast, as when my fingers type the words. There is no moment where my soul dances as beautifully, naturally as when I’m quickly drumming the white letters on my keyboard like that native rhythm in that forest somewhere long ago and far away. It makes me feel alive.

I write because I’m young and inexperienced. I write because my writing teaches me about myself. It teaches me about the way my brain connects the dots. It teaches me about my nightmares. It tells me all my deepest secrets and shows me all my darkest fears.

I write because I know just who I am. But I keep finding facets of myself I never knew were there.

I write because I’ll never know exactly who I am. I will keep growing every day into the best that I can be.

I write because it makes me feel like I am good at something; like there is this one thing; this one expression, that defines me; who I am and what I do and who I want to be.

I write because one of my favourite authors, Margaret Atwood said that ‘A word, after a word, after a word is power’. A word, after a word, after a word is immortality in ink.

I write because someday, perhaps in 60 years or so, I’ll die, but this will live forever.


How finding my style made me understand and love ‘The Great Gatsby’

I remember always wanting to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Being Maltese, I didn’t get much exposure to such novels. I was more frequently exposed to British literature, with the exception of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. This was, of course, until my undergraduate years. Still, The Great Gatsby never showed up on any of my reading lists. So – one might ask – why would I be so interested in reading this great novel to which I had had no previous exposure?

I have always been a frequenter of American television shows and films, and I have always envied the American high school experience – if the whole truth is to be told. In each and every one of these films and television shows, The Great Gatsby is at some point discussed in these high school settings, and the stereotypical avid reader makes references to this novel at some point during the film or television show. Needless to say, there was a build-up of expectation leading up to my first reading of Fitzgerald’s novel. When I found out that Baz Luhrmann’s rendition of the novel was to come out, I decided that it was time to get round to reading it. So I went to the bookshop and bought it. I read the novel in a matter of days, just in time to watch the film at the cinema.

In all honesty, while I enjoyed reading the novel, I felt let down. It wasn’t that the story wasn’t good or that I didn’t enjoy it. It was just that I had been building up my expectations of it; I had expected to read it and feel instantly swallowed into the narrative. I expected to have the same response to it that I had had for other great novels, such as the instant head-over-heels-in-love reaction I had to my favourite novel – Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of being a Wallflower. The reason this didn’t happen with The Great Gatsby was the build-up itself. I felt, upon reading the novel, that it was over-rated and that the story wasn’t as exciting as to justify its being mentioned on all those films and television shows. I watched the film and enjoyed the soundtrack and the acting and lots of things about it. The disappointment I had felt upon reading the novel, however, stuck. I was disappointed and I felt let down. I felt like my excitement had got the best of me. I felt betrayed by my own hopes and expectations for the novel.

ONE YEAR LATER 

I have been expressing myself through creative writing for fourteen years and counting. As time passed by, I tried out different styles, discovered what worked and what didn’t, and sometimes grew out of particular styles as well. Very recently, however, I have discovered what my style could be. It is an inspired style, i.e. it does not come out automatically and at all times. The style that is singular to me comes out when I am writing in inspired form. This is when I write best, as I have already mentioned in a previous blog post. Rewatching The Great Gatsby, I found out that much of the words were taken directly from the novel. I also found that they were bewitching – at least to me.

I wanted to reread The Great Gatsby, and so this is what I am doing at the moment. And let me tell you, I understand. The story is wonderful, however the magic does not lie in it. The magic lies in the words; in the writing. Rereading The Great Gatsby, I have realised and now acknowledge fully and wholeheartedly that Fitzgerald is a master of literature. He is a wizard, wielding magic out of words; stringing together phrases that – like music – echo in the heart and soul of those who encounter them with an open heart. Rereading The Great Gatsby, I now understand that Fitzgerald wrote a novel in inspired form.

For this, not only do I understand him and his novel. For this, I love him and the power that his words have over me as I read and reread each and every one of them, savouring their taste inside my mouth as I whisper them, their sound inside my ears as I perceive my whispers, and their echo in my heart as I succumb to them.


Urges Without Ideas

We all know about writer’s block, i.e. when you need to put something down with pen on paper but the words just won’t come out. You’ve got your topic, you’ve got your subject matter – you might even have the ending down – but you just can’t write. It won’t happen.

I have sometimes come to experience the reverse. Inspiration hits me like a thunderbolt and the need to write is like a hunger, gnawing at my insides, urging me to write, write, write. I have poetry inside of me at that moment and I know that if I write, it’s going to be great; one of those pieces I wrote about in my last entry – one of those that survive in spite of time and keep on moving me beyond belief. I know my mood and I know the vibe I’m getting; I know what style I want to write in, what kind of words I want to use. I know what I want to feel and what I want the words to make the reader feel. I have it all inside of me. Just one problem. What am I going to write about?

I’m a novelist. This means I always have ideas; parts of the plot I have yet to explore, scenes I’ve been looking forward to writing, chapters that I have to improve, or chapters that I’ve been longing to get the inspiration for.

But on these days, I cannot write a part of my existing novel or novels. It’s something else entirely. It’s like this urge to write something I’ve never even dreamt of before. And then I realise.

It’s inspiration.

So I turn on Mozart or Beethoven or some New Orleans style Jazz and Blues and get to writing. And these are the days when I write poetry.

Because you see, I call myself a novelist. But that’s just pigeon-holing things.

I will not pin myself down to the novel. Defining what I am is limiting, constricting, and to twist around a quote from Keats, I shall not let it clip my wings.

I am a writer. I wish for nothing more than to get urges such as these – an urge without ideas, an urge not pre-conditioned by my own limiting and binding definitions; not pre-conditioned by ideas, themselves pre-conditioned by a plot line.

So there will be these days; frustrating at the start – when I want desire  wish  need to write; something, anything that’s good and free and – most importantly – inspired. And on these days, I won’t know what to write about. I’ll glare and frown and scowl at the blank page and blinking cursor on my laptop. I’ll try to start that chapter I’ve been meaning to write and haven’t been able to.

And then this strangest thing happens. I feel my breath hitching in my throat, and my eyes open slightly wider. My lips part almost as if to speak or smile but doing neither, being indecisive. My fingers seem possessed, and something happens. Sometimes it’s manifested as a plot twist – a new character that changes everything or a new twist within the story that causes repercussions that reverberate throughout the text like an inspired domino effect. And this, though prose, comes out as poetry.

I long for it. I long for the frustration that this urge without ideas brings. I long for it because it drives me to a staring contest with the smug blank page; because it drives me to keep trying and to persevere, and to be stubborn – Don’t give up! it seems to say.

Relax. I never will, I reply, smiling. And then, poetry.


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