I have been meaning to get started on blogging seriously for the last six months or so. I have been procrastinating, the reasons for which are varied.Whatever inspiration and ideas I had just remained that.What I have done though during this time is read, compulsively.Which in a way was tantamount to being a voyeur as I have always considered myself a writer first.
I have always had the tendency of drifting and getting lost in my own thoughts.In my head I am always creating or revising a scene of some kind. I am writing or revising dialogue, constantly imagining how to verbalise emotions.I have always sort to deconstruct what I have read and always tried to give it my own voice or more appropriately put it my own words. This is not to be mistaken for being a butcher of sorts of other writers literally works, quite the contrary, I am a great admirer of writers who write in their own distinctive style.
Recently I came across an article by a fellow blogger entitled Black people read.But do they write? This struck a chord , and was to be the catalyst in a chain reaction the result of which was,me finally breaking away from the bondage of that wily old foe procrastination. By appealing to the Pan Africanist in me , it provided the just the push I needed to confront the dilemma I have been battling with for a while.That of being a writer who does not write .
Now in addressing this dilemma I will try and be concise, but somehow feel that is unlikely given its nature .The question I have grappled with is this. What is the degree to which a Writer can write as a hobby and be satisfied, without disrupting all other aspects of their life.?
To gain a better understanding of this I feel the need to give some back story. First, the present. I am a scientist by profession.For all but a dalliance that lasted a couple of years, I am and have always been a Writer who doesn’t write (credit to John Irving, who first articulated that very apt concept). How do I know I am a Writer? I love words .From an early age I have spent almost the entirety of my interstitial moments making up and reading stories.Every time I have read I have always had a quite admiration of the architects behind these stories and always felt inspired to express my own ideas in my own words.As for my stories some of them were terrible, some interesting, but all authentic and amusing to me in some way. It seems to be something my brain needs to do to relax and a platform to put together logically the random ideas that are always causing havoc in the space between my ears.
For a long time, perhaps even until my university years , I romantically viewed myself as an observer of life (versus a participator). In retrospect this was probably a protective mechanism. Still, I observed and I created and I lived vicariously through my own imagination. Oddly, I did have a social life, with friends, girlfriends and a lot of partying, so I was participating to a degree. State of mind, I guess.
I always believed I would eventually find a platform for my ideas and write more frequently but then my talents in math and science compelled me forward into a more stable career path. Very pragmatic of me I know .Interestingly enough though I remember the thrill I would get when I got a good grade in English class or got to be part of the debate team in high school. Something funnily enough that meant so much more to me than similar outcome in Biology or Statistics .
This is further highlighted by two particular incidences that happened just after I had completed high school.The first was my young brother informing me that my former English teacher had referenced some of my essays from my time in his class as an example to his current class.The second and more memorable was a conversation I had with the same English teacher, shortly before I left for university.He expressed surprise when I told him I was going to major in Biotechnology at university , he responded, “I assumed you would be an English major,” and in that brief moment I flirted with that idea.I remember thinking to myself really? me?.Needless to say, the idea of being an English major at the time seemed to terrifying and intimidating.
So I stuck with my original plan and went all the way with it.I must add as a side note that my career advisor telling me Biotechnology was the future and one of the fastest growing areas of science and that lasting image of my Dad nodding approvingly reassured me I was taking the right path.(Though a conversation we had halfway through my uni degree wasn’t as reassuring as he innocently asked me what is I would work as when I graduate)
That said I have turned out to be a decent scientist, its something that gives me joy and I am passionate about .It is the only thing other than writing I could imagine myself doing.But not enough it seems for me to completely neglect that burning desire to write.I must point out that I do “write” a lot in my day job but as you can imagine the creative licence here is very limited to almost non existent.
Recently the advent of the “internets” and in particular social media has served to stoke the dying ambers of my passion for writing again through the provision of simple platforms for all and sundry to express themselves.Mainly in the form of all the currently available microblogging and social networking sites which have the added advantage of an existing audience.It is thus easier to communicate and share ideas with like minded people , but even more significantly and maybe self indulgently for me as writer this has provided a simple platform to share my passion with the world.
To be clear, I do not have delusions of grandeur in this. What I could write might not be great literature. I doubt I m the next great novelist /blogger of our time.I am acutely aware that just because you love to do something with all your heart and soul does not mean you will be any good at it. Life’s cruelest irony. But I am optimistic in that anything born out of passion brings with it a sense of personal gratification when completed, at the very least .I also believe I have a voice and I owe to myself to pursue this and just maybe I could also entertain or inspire in the process.
So given that I have no delusions of gaining fame or money by this endevaour, it must then be a hobby. People paint as a hobby, right? When they retire. They don’t have to be any good, they just enjoy the act of it. So I can do that with writing right?
There is only one way to find out.Let the blogging begin…