A short personal essay on writing by Oroni Tendera. He vividly describes what he goes through as a writer before penning down a creative article.
It’s three am. The silence in my traditionally noisy neighborhood is unusually deafening. Harsh fluorescent light overhead glare at my paper, pen and I. A bone freezing breeze is blowing furiously into my crib, thanks to the lone open window. For that reason, my thin hairy legs are partially parted–back arched forward–face elongated.
“I have been waiting for inspiration to strike for the past thirty minutes. What am I supposed to write?” I wonder.
“Write anything literary, you will literally start from there,” I muse.
My cold fingers clasp around my pen. I hold the pen tightly upon the paper, trembling. “I shall write an absurd drama. Like the theatre of the absurd, life is a repetition of empty clichés and mysteries. No, life is no mystery. I shall write a tragedy. Like a tragedy, life is a journey whose final destiny is darkness. No, writing a tragedy is a heroic but horrific experience. I have to write a high comedy. No, our society is too lazy to unearth humour in a high comedy. What of penning a poem? A sonnet that blends Shakespearean and Italian structures? No, that sounds too scholarly.
I tilt my pen. My head snaps with a click. I feel a sharp pain crawl down my spine. My pen jumps out of my hand. I slump deeper into my seat. “I want to write right now,” I cry.
The whole of my body is immobile. My neck is stiff. My eyes are pulsating with pain. My lower and upper teeth have become inseparable. My hanging lips have grabbed each other like copulating couples. I cannot stick out my long tongue. I can’t think. I can’t see. I can’t feel. I can’t smell. Am I slipping into a comma?
VROOM! Traffic is rekindling outside. “I must write before it is too late,” I mutter. I struggle to lift my head. It falls back to the headrest. I manage to lift my right hand, albeit painfully. I get hold of the pen. My hands are shaking. My head is still on the headrest. “I shall write my own writing,” I groan. My pen slides on paper. Little by little – a letter is written, a word is woven, a sentence is structured and a paragraph is crafted. I do not know how this writing will end or climax. I am just writing. Writing not because I must write. Writing because I have something to write that I must write. Therefore, I am writing. By the way, I am not writing a play, poem, short story, flash fiction, novel or novella.
This is my own writing – flowing freely from my heart, head, hand and finally falling on paper. As I write, my right hand becomes light. My head is jerked from the headrest to an upright position. My biceps contract and relax involuntarily. I feel fresh warm air fill my lungs. Renewed energy entangles my body. I write, write and write. Will I write forever? As I write, I read what I am writing. As I read what I am writing, I see my fears on paper – I shudder. As I read what I am writing, I smell my fungi infected foot – I laugh at my ignorance. As I read what I am writing, I perceive my pride as well as shame – I fidget. Nonetheless, my pen dances nonstop to the rhythm of write–read. My eyes, running through my writing, are seeing slanting characters. My cocked ears, are listening to the sound of pen waltzing on paper. My sweaty vibrating nose, smells fresh ink on paper. The tip of my thumb, index finger and middle finger, feel the hard pen as the honed edge of my palm caresses the crispy paper. My pen stops spitting ink.
“What the hell!” I curse.
“It is running short of ink,” I realize.
“Where is another pen? I shall write to my grave,” I scream.
“Where is another pen? I shall write to my grave,” I hear the echo of my voice immortalized on paper