What I talk about when I talk about Writing



“Writing is freedom, in its many shapes and forms. The kind of freedom that is inherent to us, that we enjoy, choose, and that we work and fight for.”



Writing is many things.

Writing is in athletes; sprinting, swimming, paddling towards victory. And since life isn’t always about winning, writing can be in a torturous training before a match or even in the mundane motions of work. Writing can also be about eagles in flight or dreams still out of sight. It can be of falling in or out of love. Writing can be about dancing clouds or moonless nights. It can be of battles in stormy seas or it can be about a child winning in his first spelling bee. It can be about an infant’s first breath and cry or a senile’s last sigh. Writing can be about bouncing balls, blasting gongs, gushing streams or summer, spring and wintry days. It could be about merry festivals, jovial carnivals, or it could be or mourning maids, screaming mums and wailing babes or even silent reveries. It could be about voyages to the Milky Ways, unnamed stars, space and galaxies or it could be of a raindrop’s journey to the sea. It could be about an exile to the desert or a return of a son. It could be of vendettas and defeats or it could be of resurrections, reconciliations and redemptions. It could be of the bayou, forest, jungle or it could be of the oceans or the sky. It could be about an empire’s rise, dawn of a civilization, flourishing of a society or it could be of the end, collapse and death of another. It could be about the breakinng of dawn or of the dying light of day or the sun kissing night away. It could be about the searing realities or fleeting fantasies, of ephemerals or eternals. It could be about a boy wrapped in bed, warm and full or it could be of someone on the streets, begging for alms, cold and starved. It could be of a gnawing pain, aching wound, of a severed flesh or of orgasmic pleasures shared by lovers in bed. It could be of routines and ordinaries or it could be of once-in-a-lifetime encounters with the unknowns. It could be of eureka moments and discoveries or it could be of thousandth failures in laboratories. It could be about harvest in the field or bombings and calamities. It could of a royal with crowns and gems in his throne or of a pauper in rags and on his knees.  Writing could be about savory dishes or it could be about the taste of mud and blood in the mouth. It could be of pleasant smells of jasmines and lavenders or of acrid, putrid smell of rotten carcasses. Writing could be of simplicities or multiplicities.  It could be of many or few, of big or little things.

preparing foodWriting is cooking. To cook a dish, you must have the right equipment, the choicest ingredients and the most precise technique and execution, and the best presentation possible. It starts with the consideration of who’s going to eat. Next is the plan as to how the final dish should look and taste like. Then, sleeves are rolled, and the process unfolds: mise en place, preheat the oven or the stove, boil water for blanching greens or heat the pan with olive oil; sauté the onion or garlic; pick the best sirloin cut, or the freshest fruits, some beets or turmeric perhaps; plate the dish, pour some sauce; edit the look; taste a bit and a rosemary for the final touch. The dish is served.

Nick-Fleming-Art-in-Action-2011-9890-Nick-Fleming-1800x1200Writing is painting. The painter gets inspired, frames the painting in his mind; how the viewer must react when the piece is done. He picks his brush, start the sketch, pour some paint in his palette, the easel is erected and the canvass is put in its place. The brush is loaded. With gentle or heavy strokes the painting slowly takes its form. Emulsifiers, masks and filters might be used if the desired rendering is to be achieved. The painter steps back and adores his masterpiece. He comes back another day and edit what need be. With lacquer gloss or varnish, the painting is preserved so that in a gallery or museum wall it can be hung for long.

4-reminders-bad-day   Or writing could be more and beyond that. Writing, in its highest and most pristine form, is becoming the instrument and our lives, the literary piece written by some higher power. Writing is in a mother watching and caring for her young, working for their needs, comforting them in times of need; and seeing them grow and take worthwhile lives. There she has written, in the lives of her children, her story; for the world to read. Writing is in a poor crippled boy, braving life without limbs, taking in the mockery and heartless tease, but forever charging with passion and perseverance, striving and hoping of the day that he’ll achieve his task and prove his worth. So that others, crippled or not, shall step out from the sidelines and go into the arena of their own lives. There, that crippled boy has written a story worth reading and rereading again. Most writings are best read and felt by the heart and not by the eyes—not by written high-sounding words but by silent and gentle acts.

Writing is not confined to pen and paper. In fact, it is more intimate than the meeting of the pen’s tip and the paper’s face. It is solemn and spiritual as a Tibetan monk in prayer. It is more than recounting an event, recording facts, or expressing reasoning or thoughts. In most times, we all are writers. We all write. We do it daily, in many splendid ways, in the pages of history. We write in ways we choose. How we write goes beyond the use of words, more than rules of grammar or use of verbs and adjectives.

Writing is freedom, in its many shapes and forms. The kind of freedom that is inherent to us, that we enjoy, choose, and that we work and fight for. The kind that is who we are, who we strive to be, and who we ought to be. It is in our living [or even in our dying] that we make beautiful writing.

Writing is a way of life. Writing could be of living and experiencing what there is to live and to experience. To paint a masterpiece, to frame a moment, to cook a dish, to tell a tale, to laugh at things, to spark change, to share my life, is for me, what writing is.






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