bloom anyway

Here is an inspiring piece I found for those of us who started late, for those of us wondering how J.K. Rowling or Stephen King does it, for those of us scrambling and crawling back to our favourite book in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep obsessing and begging for our characters to tell us their secrets, for those of us late bloomers who weren’t child prodigies in churning out beautiful moving words on a page: late is merely an adjective, bloom anyway.

The power of someone believing in you is precious. Hold them close. They believe in your story; they believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself.

This is the final lesson of the late bloomer: his or her success is highly contingent on the efforts of others. In biographies of Cézanne, Louis-Auguste invariably comes across as a kind of grumpy philistine, who didn’t appreciate his son’s genius. But Louis-Auguste didn’t have to support Cézanne all those years. He would have been within his rights to make his son get a real job, just as Sharie might well have said no to her husband’s repeated trips to the chaos of Haiti. She could have argued that she had some right to the life style of her profession and status—that she deserved to drive a BMW, which is what power couples in North Dallas drive, instead of a Honda Accord, which is what she settled for.

But she believed in her husband’s art, or perhaps, more simply, she believed in her husband, the same way Zola and Pissarro and Vollard and—in his own, querulous way—Louis-Auguste must have believed in Cézanne. Late bloomers’ stories are invariably love stories, and this may be why we have such difficulty with them. We’d like to think that mundane matters like loyalty, steadfastness, and the willingness to keep writing checks to support what looks like failure have nothing to do with something as rarefied as genius. But sometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it’s just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table.

“Sharie never once brought up money, not once—never,” Fountain said. She was sitting next to him, and he looked at her in a way that made it plain that he understood how much of the credit for “Brief Encounters” belonged to his wife. His eyes welled up with tears. “I never felt any pressure from her,” he said. “Not even covert, not even implied.”

u / yu / you / yuu

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Twenty-Five.”

There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one of them. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)

When I met you, you re-shaped my sentences and stories in such a specific way that I couldn’t write without your image hovering over the page telling my words where to go, where to hide, where to slip, and where to stick.

And my words follow you. My words needed you since you smiled and looked at me as we danced.

You’re like a shadow: inevitable during the day, faint and haunting at night.

You’re the invisible vowel that holds my story together, and I cannot write without you.

And all my stories are a rewriting of your name, a rewriting of the moment you came to my life, a revisiting of the many yesterdays you have made relevant, vivid as the present time as if you are still here.

to the room beside mine

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Study Abroad.”

If you were asked to spend a year living in a different location, where would you choose and why?

In my brother’s shoes.

I would like to know what he goes through, what goes through in his mind, even just for a day. He is as elusive as the 29th day of February, as quiet as the sunset. I would like to know how he feels, his dreams, his anxieties. My brother doesn’t say much, and I am a writer, so his nods, shrugs, footsteps kill my need for words. I read somewhere that writers thrive more in silence, in gaps, because those are spaces we can fill with words. But my brother refuses to use words. He prefers charcoal and blank paper, lines and shadows, portraits and still images. I would like to know his world because sometimes–sometimes around 2 in the morning–I think I hear him crying out for help. But when I check in the morning, I see new portraits of women looking at a distance, women with eyes so defined that they look at back at me and I am forced to blink making sure they aren’t alive.

My brother is an artist; and the heart of one, often inaccessible.

Words are all I have; and I’ve tried many many times to slip words under his door hoping to reach out to him in a medium I will understand.

But he simply replies back with nods, shrugs, footsteps, and charcoal portraits. His room is beside mine; we are separated by a wall, and I feel like he is in a different world where his hands are tainted with lead and the sky has copies of faces as stars.

And I would just like to know, to be reassured, that he is happy.

tempting, but.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Too Big To Fail.”

Tell us about something you would attempt if you were guaranteed not to fail (and tell us why you haven’t tried it yet).

But failing is a good thing. We fail everyday which means we have the chance of attaining bigger and more meaningful victories.

Every morning, I get up to write. Sentences are written and are stopped midway. They fail for now as I take care of life and everything it requires me to do. Then I go back to my failed sentences in the afternoon or at night before I sleep, and I look at them: stories that have failed to be stories fifteen hours ago.

But there is a new day tomorrow, and my pen still has ink, so I’ll try again: remembering where I failed and working harder to fail less.

The guarantee of success, of not failing, is tempting.

But every heartbreak makes the eventual happiness even more meaningful, even more lasting.

always

The blank screen I left last night–still here. Not that I didn’t have things to write. Quite the contrary, I had too many thoughts last night. As always, I fight with myself and argue that my words aren’t good enough. I declared defeat and went to bed at 10:30 PM–something I haven’t done in months. At 7 AM the next day, making my coffee, bidding my lovely mother to have a nice day at work, returning to the blank document, I realized it wasn’t really defeat. It’s not defeat when you give your thoughts a rest they deserve; and so the words will return. They always do. I just need to let them know that I’m waiting here. Always.