A message, from me, to you.
It is 6:21 pm, Saturday, June 5, 2021. I sit here, on this spot, 35.6 latitude, 140.1 longitude, a Starbucks inside a mall, bent over my notebook.
I come here to write. I am a wannabe creative writer. The coffee shop provides me with the right dose of distraction — chatters of passers-by; the low music; measured movements of the limbs of the people inside; the myriad colours of their attires; unobtrusive scent of perfume, coffee, and snacks, etc — whence I sense the slightest tingle of imagination, creativity in me.
I have sat here since 10:23:43 am, the receipt of the drip coffee I bought when I came in reads. I have not written a single sentence yet— only several false starts; all the ideas that crossed my mind dried up in just few sentences. In the same span of time since I sat down, the earth has moved 8,321 miles. I have aged, over my 34 years, 8 hours and 4 minutes and six seconds and counting.
This has also been the story of much of my creative life.
Yet I still write. Because I cannot not write. I write because I suffer. My existence weighs heavy upon me, upon my feeble lung and oppresses me. I suffocate. Alleviation, salvation from this oppression of existence is in service, in serving our fellow beings in what we love doing most and being lost in that service. Mine is in creative writing. Or so I believe. That is what gets me up every morning, withdraw from the world into the solitude of my writing space for hours every day. In that solitude, I endeavour to glean messages, meaning, wisdom from my own existence that I deem is of essence and would contribute if only the size of a grain of dust for the improvement of human existence. A creative writer does not tell the message, as academics do — telling the message is communicating it to a person’s mind. A person is more than their mind; mind is only the surface layer of one’s being. Whatever is communicated to a person’s mind is lost to them in short time. This is what the Good Book refers to as “a seed that falls on stony ground” which it goes to explain as “That is like a person who hears the message and right away he is glad to hear it. But it does not go down deep in his heart. He believes it for a short time. When trouble or a hard time comes because of the message, he stops believing” (Matthew 13: 20–21).
Creative writing seeks to clothe the message in fitting, potent expression than just tell it, in the form of poetry, fiction, play, creative nonfiction etc that sinks deeper than the mind and speak to the whole of a person, so the person also finds the conviction to act upon the truth. Producing writing of this kind requires climbing up to the summit of the mountain of creativity, spend forty days and forty nights inside the cloud of inspiration, writing.
I do not have anything, not so much as a single line of literature, to show for my lofty ideas and aspirations, for the decade I spent scribbling. I am the proverbial fruitless fig tree. A lifetime of mediocrity, enslavement to sin maroons me to ineptitude, holds me back from producing writing that speaks to your whole being, reaches out to your soul, which is hurting, paining, silently weeping inside you; writing that put arms around it, comfort and strengthen it. This oppresses me more.
It is in that oppression, exasperation that I now push aside the day’s creative writing to write this note, this open, spontaneous, unadorned note, addressed from me to you, whoever you maybe. I toss this note in the whirlwind that is the internet and bid it find whoever it may from now till kingdom comes. You may be in the same lifetime as me, the same batch of existence (I imagine that is how we would refer to each other if we met in the hereafter, heaven or hell: the same batch or the batch when Vladimir Putin was in power — that is, if we were to keep the memory of our earthly existence).
This letter is me collapsing on my knees before you, in exasperation, for failing you, for failing you in my duty as a writer and a human being, for not loving you enough to put in the effort to put literature on the plate, while I gluttonously feed on the melody, movies, arts others suffer to produce.
I write to express how truly sorry I am. Yet, in my ineptitude in writing I doubt if I can succeed in that purpose. I wish you could see the hot tears welling up inside my eyes, instead, blinding me as I write these words; I wish you could taste its sourness on your tongue. I wish you could peep into my soul and behold anguish, exasperation scourging me inside; wish you could hear the groan of my passion.
Still, I cannot hang up my pen. I will try again tomorrow.