Monday, September 22, 2008

rome wasn't built in a day

I've spent a lot of nights (and afternoons) twisting and turning in bed. I'm pretty sure this isn't ground breaking news. A lot of people go through this but what fascinates me is that while most people think about their jobs, relationships, and other worries, I'm simply thinking about how I can get to sleep. My uncle, a visiting upholsterer just started work on updating our ancient sofa set and amidst the bass line from his hammer, the noisy singing neighbor, and the intoxicating smell of rugby, I found myself wide-awake after a full hour of lying in bed.

Resigned that the concept of sleeping at two in the afternoon was pointless, I got dressed in my most NSFW outfit (it was wrinkly and old) and headed to the nearest cup of Chamomile tea. There in the cafe's lulling ambiance, I hoped to find some answers.

Most people gauge their lives on certain things- a good job, good friends, a good relationship. I had a job that took me to intellectual places I didn't even know existed. My friends have always been there for me and in lieu of a relationship, I always had my writing. But that's the thing about relationships, they don't always take us to where we want, nay need to be. I haven't written anything substantial in months. Aside from this blog, I only write on leave forms, notes to people, and other useless things. I had always seen writing as a form of release but with nothing bottled up inside me, I was afraid that this writer had suddenly dried up.

I realized that I wasn't so lucky; that I did have things that were keeping me from sleeping. I was a dying writer. What was the last story I wrote? When did I last feel the sudden urge to pick up a pen and scribble away? Why couldn't I write?

I had sworn off books for the longest time. It happened after reading Murakami's Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It took me months to finish it, not to mention two Nick Hornby novels and a side dish of David Sedaris (just to break the monotony). After months of not reading, I picked up Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart to keep me and my tea company. There, in chapter 2, I found a very interesting take on fiction. There are gates in China that hold spirits of towns. To make this, they take the bones of fallen soldiers and mix it with the blood of freshly killed dogs. Kind of like the mixture of time and experience gives you kick-ass lit. I had lots of time. I had plenty of experience. Why couldn't I write?

Suddenly, my hands reached for the pencil in my 3 day old jeans. I had to write. But what could I write about?

I started slowly. Random things. Was that Billie Holiday playing in the background? I'm leaving sweat marks on the pleather. That lady thought I was in college. Pretty soon, I couldn't stop. When I ran out of paper, I practically ran home and scribbled away. It wasn't much but I had to start somewhere. All in all, I must've filled about three pages of lines and with the right mood, I could probably use half of those lines to form a decent piece.

So here's my lesson of the day. Who knew it was that easy? Once I had embraced my handicap, I figured out a way to get rid of it. And just like dominoes, breaking down one wall broke the next. As I write this, I feel a timid yawn escape my lips. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get to sleep after this. Rome wasn't built in a day and my words shouldn't have to feel any pressure.