How a gum ball bulldozed my writer’s block

So, there I was, at the Laundry, in the pretext of helping my very sweet husband, who ends up doing laundry all the time, week after week, month after month, simply because his wife, who was driving like a maniac back home in India, refused to take her license as she wanted to complete writing her Novel. Well, now that she has completed it, at least the draft, she has cleared the knowledge test, and is now waiting for her road test day. Some progress that is.

I decided to accompany my husband due to two reasons. One, I was depressed; to use the right word. Mighty sad that I wasn’t writing anything as such, let alone, finish editing my Novel draft. I have been reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and been day dreaming about her in my editor’s shoes. I have high hopes about my Novel, I believe there is a beautiful story out there, but I know with a certain amount of certainty that it’s not yet there, and I cannot start sending it out to agents and prospects. But, how do I make the next step? I open my manuscript, and end up reading the best chapters, ignoring the ones that need more digging, more pruning. I don’t know how to move forward. That’s when I thought stepping out, living like an ordinary being, getting busy with daily errands like washing clothes could help put my life back in order.

The second reason was more compelling; the need to have my house in order, to see it spic and span and to feel elated seeing the empty laundry basket. My mind refuses to work in a cluttered environment. Somehow, I am wired that way; that’s what I tell my husband when he expresses his alarm over my sense of cleanliness and orderliness. When I launch an attack on him for putting his shoes right in front of the shoe rack, and never on one of it’s racks, and when he retaliates every time, that’s what  I give as an answer. That my mind doesn’t work, buddy, I am wired that way, sorry, can’t help it. I ‘m wired this way too, so, what do I do, buddy? He asks me. I have my answer, but then I am too busy with my thoughts, I give up. So, when I see the laundry basket begin to get filled up, I start dreaming about a clean basket, the clothes washed, dried and well stacked up in their respective columns in the rear end of the dark closet in the master bedroom.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was writing passionately, poems, one after the other, when Spring was just in the air, and when buds had just started to appear. That was the time when I thought I could write on and on, and wondered how I would even take a break from writing, if it came to it. The previous day of my knowledge test for license, I remember getting lost watching streams of bright sunlight come into the room, through the partially opened windows. I opened the blinds completely and took a few moments to take in the beauty. Completely captivated and swept off my feet, I started writing a poem about what I saw, about what I felt at that moment. Just then, my husband walked into the room, and I had to stop in between, and revisit it later, when none was noticing. I had my test the next day, well and good; I was inching closer to finishing my preparation, true, but what could I do, when inspiration struck with such intensity? What happened in the next couple of days has been saddening. I stopped my poem midway, but passed my knowledge test and now I am driving quite well, but, that’s not what I am coming to.

I am trying to explain about my writing block. And see, how I keep going round in circles. Does that say anything about my problem? I think it does. That’s what a writer’s block is for me. I started writing at a steady pace roughly two years ago, and since then, I have been writing pretty well for my own standards, getting better at it, with every new paragraph written. But for the past few weeks, I am wallowing in self pity, blaming my circumstances for my inability to write. I open my manuscript, and end up going round in circles, reading from the last page to the second last, from the third chapter to the fifth, and then basking in the beauty of my own writing. In between, I open a new document, and start working on a new topic, just to ease my anxiety. For some reason, I have not even been able to complete a poem; one about an evening walk that I started the day before. And, then, there are a couple of articles; travelogues that are far from complete or satisfactory. I begin uninspired, and I end up totally shattered. The realization that if I don’t write, I perish begin to haunt me increasingly, and then, I start thinking about the brevity of life, and about my dreams unfulfilled. Well, that only worsens my problem. I end up going round in circles.

Coming back to the Laundry; we chose two washers at the very entrance; the ones near the gum balls. How colourful! We spoke about our son, the almost-nine year old, who pleads for gum balls every time we go for laundry and how both of us valiantly retort, and explain to him the perils of eating such junk, such toxic trash. I recollected the way his face would end up in a twisted fashion, all the happiness wiped off suddenly. But then, there I was; right in front of the gum balls, depressed every bit about my unfulfilled life, looking for a little bit of sunshine in my life, one that could eradicate all the darkness, all the brooding over.

I took pleasure in asking my husband for permission and for a quarter dollar. I decided to take a break from swathing in self-pity, from my depressing thoughts, to enjoy that burst of sugar and sweetness. I decided to have a gum ball. The truth of the matter is, whenever I spot gum balls, I get an urge to have one, but I resist, as I must show a good example to my children. I did it a couple of times, I mean, I resisted the urge to ask for gum balls, and then, it became a habit. How I managed to kill the child in me, so mercilessly, so mechanically?

My children weren’t there with me then, so no fear of being the bad parent. I want a gum ball. I proclaimed. What? Seriously? Gum ball? No way. Well, how could he dictate what I wanted to eat? Ok, I didn’t want to let go in that tangent, so I quickly said, what if it breaks my writer’s block? I am stuck big time, you know. Well, silence followed, and then, in quick succession, the clatter and clamor of quarters finding their way to my husband’s opened palm from the coin dispenser.

What if it breaks my writer’s block? Something said at the lark of the moment, without much thinking did break my writer’s block. What followed next was truly enlightening. I lived in the moment. I got a bright yellow gum ball and as it’s juices began filling up my mouth, I closed my eyes in bliss, in sheer abandon, I lost myself in there, in the syrupy yellow liquid that took me on a near high, for a moment, I forgot my worries and really enjoyed that moment. I lived up to it. Something about that yellow gum ball changed me. It charged me up. It ended up being my bit of sunshine.

I decided to write about it. But even when that thought flashed my mind, I didn’t really mean it. But here am I, writing about it, seamlessly, without feeling that a block did exist; once upon a time.

They have come

How can I not celebrate?
How can I not rejoice?
For they have come
Much awaited, much loved,
But they took their own time
As if to tell us something
That we mustn’t take them for granted
It feels like April was here long ago
But not Spring, the most elusive one
Across the window, what was a bare wall;
With a few barren bushes juxtaposed against
Is today in a burst of sunshine
With the Forsythia friends in full bloom
I step into the patio,
To take in the beauty around,
And I am overwhelmed!
The browned grass turned green in a night
How could they not cheer up?
For the rains came down last night
With such passion, such vivacity
Showering new life on them aplenty
They say, the longer the wait, the sweeter it is
When the moment of fulfillment comes.

Image

Mother

Mother

The phone rings for seconds on end,

My patience drains out at the other end,

At what seems like the last ring,

A familiar voice; but sounds way too different,

Cheerless and tired, not in for a chit chat

My friend, a mother, her dear child fallen sick,

Her voice, a connotation of her child’s ailment,

Her heart, heavy with her child’s anguish

 

Mothers, they carry burdens, of their children,

Many a baggage from their past and present,

Worries for the future, for days trouble-free,

Mothers, with an innate ability to transfer pain,

From the deepest wounds, to their own bodies,

Lessen pain for their children, for speedier cures

A mother’s heart drugs with despair,

Over a child succumbed to pleasures vicious

 

The mother kneels down in prayer, day and night

For a child who wouldn’t surrender to grace immaculate

The mother walks alone to temples and churches,

Mosques and synagogues, turns a pilgrim eternal,

For her child’s homecoming, for the return of a racketeer

The mother weds hunger, to satiate her child’s need for food,

The mother burns the midnight oil, during her child’s days of test,

Struggles to keep awake, after a day of toil, of trials and troubles

 

Pick up the phone, call your mother,

Tell her that you love her, which is not enough though,

Book a ticket; take a trip down that road once again,

One that leads you home, a pathway presupposed

Care for her like you never did, like today is that last day,

Love her like never before, fill her days with cheer,

Walk the roads with her; show her a world anew,

Sit by her side; hold her hand, for she needs you

 

 

Dust’s ode

From where we stay, there is a long view,

Out through the long corridor, darkened

At the very end, there is light, streaming

Through a million of our brethren, dancing

 

The lonely man walks in and out,

Mutters a word to himself, in agony,

He stops at the corridor, taking in silence,

Turns to look at us, a fine battalion

 

We give him attention, day and night,

We have stayed through thick and thin,

As if in gratitude, he doesn’t wipe us off

But only stares at us as we build more muscle

 

We have stayed long enough to understand,

The workings of his solitary mind,

His brush strokes that evoke emotions,

His genius; but stacks of framed pictures

 

Once in a while, he walks in a melancholic trance

Sheds a tear or two as he peers at his creations,

One by one, through our empathetic selves

But never did he mop us away, never

 

Gathering dust is what they call it,

The dying of a connoisseur unknown,

The losing of a life unfulfilled,

But only if dust they knew had life

The elusive quiet

Will the day ever be mine again?

Will the night be mine alone?

When will I be able to embrace the day?

When will I be able to lose myself in the night?

 

I feel time receding

With it my passion too

For the word; written and spoken

For, when will I get some quiet?

 

My mind is on an upsurge

I feel creative juices flow

Through my cranial cavities

Nourishing my need for expression

 

When did I cherish this elusive quiet so much?

I don’t remember being courted by the thought

In such depths as I am now

The calling is intense, but….

 

Can I shut myself out from this world?

I know I can’t do it even for a day

As I am bound to things mundane

Like a caged bird to it’s cage

 

Around me, it’s getting beautiful

The buds come up a million a day

Can I step out for a moment?

To enjoy the beauty of quiet

 

Spring Sojourners

spring_snow_deerAt the winding curve,
Where the road splits into two;
The narrower one leading me home,
Amidst the browned stubble on both sides,
My eyes met a delicate deer’s
It’s winter coat plusher,
It’s tail bushier,
It’s eyes opened wide in some new found happiness,
It’s ears upright, gathering sounds in swift eagerness,
It’s sight reinforcing my dream
An early spring may I behold,
Has been the prayer on my lips
Happy I woke up this bright February morning,
With a noisy flock of winged wonders,
Twittering by my window side
Thronging at their new bird house in my patio,
For their share of morning grain
Their songs fall not on my ears,
But on my eager heart
The little songsters of spring dance not
On the wooden handrails of my piazza
Rather in the insides of my soul
As they excitedly flap their wings,
Incessantly in the late winter chill,
They warm the airs around them
Ushering in an early spring
Melting any winter despair left
In the stillness of cold yesterdays.

 

 (Image courtesy: home.comcast.net)

Precious moments

170310_sparrow

Sitting by my window side,
Comfortably on my couch,
Reading a book to my brat,
Watching sparrows throw a fit,
For little remnants of grain
Listening to their shrill trill,
Short and sweet and pure,
Looking at them,
Bend their little heads,
Sipping from their earthen cup,
Looking up every now and then,
For a possible hunter
Soon returning to the water,
With singular caution though
Remembering to look up again;
“Is anyone spying me as yet?
Did the curtain move a wee bit?
Or is it just my fearful illusion?
These grains they are so good
Can I just sink my beak in there?
But who will keep an eye on’em?
Did I hear footsteps, one or two?
A hushed whimper of the wood?
Click sounds, shutter bugs,
They are after me you know”
As they muse and mutter,
My brat runs out of patience,
Dashes to the French window,
Pulls the curtains apart rashly
Sputtering a sharp chip note,
They take swift flight
Didn’t even bat an eyelid I
Then dug into the couch in bliss
Closed my eyes for scenes to replay
Wrote these lines in my heart
My tomorrows are richer thus
Thanks to my vibrant todays.