Am I Still a Writer?

It has been more than a month since I posted a blog entry. A lot has happened in a month, but that is not my excuse. I have traveled almost ten thousand miles back to the continent of my birth. I have been admitted at a clinic for treatment of kidney stones (ouch). I have begun an MFA program… The last achievement is what brings me to the paper tonight. I have begun an MFA program. I feel like I need to repeat this over again until it sinks in.

I met my cohort of 13 writers, all with various aspirations and diverse genres, on Saturday. While some folks were threatening to burn Qurans and others were in mourning or attending prayer services around the world, we talked about our lives and our writing. It felt like there was a need for more of us to be consciously awake in our world today and to do so verbally. Hence a program in Writing and Consciousness. Despite this catalyst, I have not been inspired to write much the last few days. I have not written anything creative in a very long time. I have lots of material for stories from my trip, but nothing has sparked my interest to devote attention to. How can I be a writer if I am not writing?

My trip to Ghana was a difficult one, and I am trying to find ways to reconcile it. I spent a lot of money on my ticket as well as while I was there. I didn’t get to see everyone I had planned to see. It had been three years since I was last there. The list of negatives go on. Being hospitalized brought me face to face with the medical systems in a developing country. And mind you, I had the best of care because my uncle was the attending physician at this clinic. As my blood spurted onto the sheets from a badly placed IV needle, I grimaced. What if I caught something while I was here? People trust their lives to him everyday, and come to think of it, I also did before I saw the western world. How dare I worry? Did these folks have the luxury to dream of catching “something”? I recognized the American in me as I tried to calm myself. The illusion of control, when stripped leaves its owner dazed. I was dazed!

Perhaps it is this illusion of control that I wish to look at today. I thought I would get back here, reconnect with friends I hadn’t seen all summer, begin work again so I could pay back the price of that ticket, then write. What I did not plan for, and could not control was the amount of time it took to get over my jet lag. A week! I was furious with my body, and instead of using those odd waking hours to write, I decided to agonize over it or organize my closet. What is it that keeps me away from writing? Of course there are all the numerous arguments like the many applications for residencies I am working on somewhat haphazardly. Then there’s homework. Homework in the MFA?! Imagine my surprise too. I am to “learn” craft so I can “apply” it to my own writing. What if there is no writing to apply it to? I am a tad bit perplexed by how much reading is entailed in the workshop class. Not the pieces to be workshopped, but rather the “craft” essays and stories we have to read. Ai!
So illusion of control? I am at the end of another week, I have gotten my jet-lag under “control”, I have resumed work and making money, and I have still not written anything creative. Am I still a writer when I am not writing? Do I really have control over the will to write or the circumstances that sometimes make it impossible to write? Can I write anymore? Am I fooling myself by thinking I am in control of when I write and that soon, I will write?

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3 comments

  1. I hear you on wanting to control your body and your writing. It’s been a tumultuous couple of months for you! Be tender with yourself. If pushing isn’t helping, try letting go.

    Lately I’ve made a decision to try not to analyze my perceived failings so much. I went to the Love and Joy WOC retreat at the East Bay Meditation Center on Saturday and afterward I decided to take time every morning and night to be with myself with no judgments or plans. It remains to be seen whether this will make me more productive… but at least maybe it’ll bring me peace with myself.

    Much love to you. 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you on Friday!

  2. You say you’re not writing, but this blog is writing, and it’s fabulous! You are fantastic! I LOVE you!!!

    More more more about Ghana. Love getting to know you better.

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