Writing amid static

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Ever since I joined the “corporate arena” (an annoying term I got from an officemate), I haven’t been able to write things that aren’t, er… corporate-y.

It’s not for lack of trying. Every lunchbreak, I would go to a nearby fountain — orange journal tucked under my sweaty pits — and sit quietly for half an hour, trying to write. I’d like to think I do this solely to please my Muse and act like a writer dedicated to his craft. But mostly, it’s because the food around BGC is hella expensive and I’m a cheapskate

I’d try and make an essay, a poem, even a song lyric — anything to get that pen moving across the page. Sometimes, I would be successful in roping a few words, making a coherent paragraph that captures my thoughts. Other times, I would go back to the office, frustrated and hungry, the scent of failure mixing with a tinge of sweat and B.O.

Stephen King once said that waiting for inspiration to strike is for amateurs, and that real writers just power through and write. And though I agree with that sentiment (who am I to disagree with the King of Horror? I wouldn’t want him to sic his creations on me), it’s hard to power through when all you hear is “static”.

That’s how it feels lately, whenever I try to write for pleasure. The voice in my head  — the good one, not the one who tells me streaking in public is a great idea — is trapped behind a wall of static, unable to narrate anything. It’s like watching telenovela with bad reception, trying to piece a story together using fuzzy images, incomprehensible noise, and the passionate squawking of characters. Utter chaos.

I may be suffering from the writer’s equivalent of erectile dysfunction. Even the fountain seemed to agree during one of my lunch sessions: from a strong water cannon, it turned into a tiny sprout — a fitting metaphor for the lack of passion in my writing.

I need to try the two sure-fire methods of getting your mojo back: reading more and writing more. The last time I picked up a book (In Evil Hour by Gabriel Garcia Marquez), I found the whole thing tiring. I couldn’t even finish 20 pages in a week. I’ve also been neglecting my blog updates, since I’m transitioning at my new work.

I’ll update more often from now on, til I reach the point where static becomes clear and the voice is audible. Because to “power through” means to continue producing work until you become an unstoppable force, that not even something as concrete as Writer’s Block can stop you (think Juggernaut meets Mark Twain).

"Tis thee Juggernaut, bitch!"

“Tis thee Juggernaut, bitch!”

How to cope (in 500 words or less)

How do you deal with the sudden news that someone you know died?

A friend. A relative. An acquaintance who, despite the brief moment you were in each other’s life, still left a mark?

The default reaction is denial of a deliberate kind. This is eventually replaced by acceptance, followed by a fervid desire to remember everything about the person. It’s a coping mechanism of sorts; our mind’s way of making sure the person isn’t completely erased from existence.

We grab at strings in the dark, each one a cherished moment shared with the deceased. Some of the strings turn to air, slipping through one’s fingers, rising and spreading out towards the sky. You start to forget, start to lose the little details which used to mean a lot. You become angry for not having more.

Because in the end, that’s what it all boils down to: we just want more. More time with the person. More memories to hold on to. More of everything, before it’s too late.

This is how I choose to process death, in a way I can best express myself. Blogging is just another way of coping, after all. With this entry, I can make one final memory, one sturdy string tied down with words.

Recently I attended the wake of Lee, a friend from college. Lee was already an outgoing Varsitarian staffer by the time I joined the publication. Hands down, he was the warmest, friendliest person there, helping us newbies learn the ropes of being a student-writer. 

We shared similar interests: Pokemon, anime and other geeky things generally frowned upon by others as being too “childish”. Maybe that’s why we became fast friends.  

Last Monday, Lee succumbed to tuberculosis, at the young age of 27. He will be missed.