I’m a writer.
There, I’ve written it.
It has been read. By you.
So I’m a writer.
Do you know how hard it is to write that down and put it out there? Risk ridicule, or worse, indifference?
Maybe you do.
Yes, I’m a writer. Giddy now, really pushing it. But please understand, it’s been inside me, unclaimed, for so long!
Some months ago I decided I would publish a new blog piece every Monday, and I have stuck to that.
Dinner or not, we dine at 1, so rattle those pots and pans …
Publish and be damned. Or maybe it’s publish or be damned.
Of course I try and come up with something I think people will read, but sometimes I just get lost in the actual writing. And only find out what I am writing about when I write it.
Of course I edit and revise before I publish, but that’s kind of a separate thing. Well, connected but distinct.
Before I actually write, I prepare my metaphorical paint, and the canvas that is my computer screen is laid out pristine before me.
Now I must contemplate some more, all the while swishing and stirring these symbols I have poured onto the palette in my head, thinning, thickening, smoothing, getting the shades just right, before that thrilling, take-off moment when the first brushstrokes splash out on to the virgin canvas.
Oh, but these words are so squishy and delightful, the paint dripping down my fingers as I dib and I dab, I wipe and I redo, and carry on and on across the page, over and back.
Somehow these lovely squidgy, splodgy splishes and splashes fill the canvas. The words that come out are black and the background is white, but just as sunshine is comprised of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, there is a whole rainbow in every letter.
It’s there, dear reader, and hopefully you will find it. Maybe that’s what texture is.
Like the more abstract artist with his flourishes I genuinely don’t know what I have written until I stand back from my canvas, read it back, and think about it. Even then I’m not sure.
There are two different kinds of editing, I think, the colder, calculating one after the painting is “completed”, and then there is the deleting and rephrasing I do as I am actually writing.
It’s like that thing you see painters do where they pause to examine the work in progress. They cock their head first one way, then the other, step back, and step in to add a little tint of red here, wipe the brush, and maybe warm that blue with the tiniest flecks of orange.
Something to do with getting the tone right, the feeling. It can’t be explained, can only be felt and applied. Because it seems right. It has to be right.
It mightn’t be right in 10 minutes, but it’s good for now.
So I paint and I peruse, adjust and continue until eventually I am satisfied enough with what I have written. Or at least satisfied enough to publish it.
Fretting all the while then, and long afterwards, that I have said what I want to say, said it as well as I can, and people will read it, and respond.
I am hugely interested in that wonderful creative space between what is written, and what is actually read. How people interpret things so differently.
And also how we are actually different people according to who we are with.
I am thinking how people frame whole relationships around aspects of the other that they seek out and relate to. They find what they look for in each other. And are drawn in or repulsed.
Love and hate, just different parts of the same person, accessed at different moments.
I thought about this the other day when I had a shouting match with my daughter. I won’t say about what. Or say anything about her. As I said I wouldn’t.
What was significant, I felt, is that in those moments, as we ranted and traded insults, we were both guilty of the same thing. Relating only to the negative parts of each other.
Soon afterwards I was calm enough to see that while we were rowing, I wasn’t talking and reacting like a complete gobshite, I was a complete gobshite. That’s what she had elicited from me, and, yes, vice versa.
The remarkable thing was, after we had said all the awful stuff to each other, and after a simmering moment or two, the two of us and A, my wife and her mother, went off to complete our shopping.
And we began to laugh and banter, all three of us, and father and daughter, as we went about throwing in an extra bar of hazelnut chocolate into the shopping trolley here, and taking out that second packet of honey roasted peanuts there. We were pushing completely different buttons in each other
Imagine you are a piano … and each person that comes to play you, plays you differently …
Some tinkle your ivories lightly and playfully, drawing forth a jaunty, airy melody. They like the bright, light springier notes. You are that jaunty piano.
Others are drawn to your deeper, dirgier notes, to your darker, more reflective chords. You are also that more sombre, even melancholy instrument.
I don’t play music so I’m not going to push this metaphor too far … it’s just the idea … some people just bring out the bastard in you, or like to mess with your head. Others know you a little better and like to hang with Mr Inbetween.
I’m Enda the writer. Play me.
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