A lesson from nature

When we look around us, we see nature at her most pristine. The scurrying squirrels, wandering birds, swaying leaves, and sparkling mirages are all reminders how nature treats life as we know it. Everything around us is a part of a bigger picture that nature paints for us. From the playful kittens and mischievous puppies, to the untamed wilderness, there’s always something worth smiling at and palpable happiness in the air.

It’s only natural then that the joy affects us as well. As inhabitants of this earth it’s close to impossible not to let nature influence or impact on us.

Nevertheless, despite the bubbling energy in our environment, we refrain from enjoying it.

Kids don’t care what others think of them. Kids be themselves, splashing around in the mud, making a racket, spilling coffee on their clothes, and laughing at it all without a care in the world.

Would we grown ups dare do the same?

We wouldn’t. We’re too self-conscious to let ourselves go. We’re too worried about what others would say or think of us. As we ponder about living in the moment, we fail to recognise our lives are fleeting before our eyes. We think we don’t deserve to play, because we’re adults with adult responsibilities.

We, instead, reserve playtime as for kids. Play is for everyone. It’s what makes us human, spreads liveliness in us and makes us relatable. When we face life with a smile on our lips, with a positive attitude and confidence to overcome barriers, when we’re unwavering in challenges and ever hopeful, we fall in line with the earth herself: content and tolerant.

The best thing about enjoying, indulging, ourselves is that we don’t have to try too hard. We just have listen to and heed our inner mind. And sit by a stream observing the gushing water. There’s so much calm and joy radiating from nature that it seeps through us as well. Nature reminds us to live every moment, and does that by example.

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People speak

Surrogate mother

falls the mallet on her life

arises judgement

The heart wants

The authentic French accent had impressed Melissa once. Even before she realised it, she’d fallen in love——with those slender locks bouncing off  her shoulders and coming to a rest by the hips, manicured finger nails reflecting the soft sunlight, and pruned eyelashes batting against lined, blue eyes.

Mellissa’s young heart yearned. ‘Out of your league,’ her mind piped.

She looked up at her father, who seemed to be searching someone. Mellissa, however, had eyes for none but the speaking French doll.

She sighed. It was too easy to guess her father’s response: “We can’t afford it now, my love.”

Art of heart

There are many artists who you’d call prolific. However, only a few of the many end up showcasing their innovative creations. So many talented artists never make it to the big walls of national museums. Regardless, seeing those who do, and who do it in unique ways, makes you realise that art is an undefinable, endless stream of consciousness. There’s no one right way to art, and those who say otherwise haven’t experienced true art.

Nam June Paik, a Korean-American artist is an innovator. The pioneer of video art, he also created what seems like scrawls but are deep-meaning works. Like this one. It’s a showpiece in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It’s my shadow that reflects on the art, right on top of the heart. Though sloppy in terms of photography, I like how unintentional, yet meaningful it is that I hover over the heart that pumps, that’s complete and full of love.

Modern Art - SFMOMA - Nam June Paik.jpeg

You should also take a look at the original artwork on the SFMOMA website.

Unblock

The muse stops.

The screen freezes.

The block appears. And you’re stuck.

It’s so common nowadays to claim a writer’s block. Professionals do it all the time. Even amateurs often find it hard to go further than the first few scrawny lines they managed on their big novel.

I’ve felt the same so many times. However, I don’t think it’s valid to name it writer’s block. No one’s blocked in the literal sense. Writing is a habit. It’s practice.

Even art isn’t art without practice.

The problem is, we often define writing as a creative job. People stereotype writers as wearing big round glasses, sleep-deprived, coffee-fueled, alcohol addicts. I don’t think so. Sure, we’ve seen a lot of great writers who match the description as much as twins look alike. Nevertheless, writers are different with varied perspectives and tastes. Not every writer writes only when they’ve gulped a pot of coffee. Not every writer needs alcohol to keep them typing.

Some writers just sit at the computer and write.

The reason is that they approach writing as a part of their life. It’s not an impulsive muse that needs to hit them at the right time at the right spot. It’s, instead, a ritual they go through because they choose to commit to it.

Writing in its pure sense is communication between the writer and the reader. It should be simple and straightforward if the reader is to glean anything at all. There’s no place for showing off there. Sure, poetry and fiction need a creative streak. And, yes, readers often enjoy an occasional wordplay or the clever turn of phrase. But all that comes from editing, and not the writing itself. For the first draft of anything is often us telling the story to ourselves.

When we approach our everyday writing like it’s verbal diarrhoea—or logorrhoea, in technical terms—there’s no way we’d get blocked. Whether we’re a professional non-fiction writer, an amateur, or a novel novelist, at the end of the day, we’re just a writer. It’s our job.

And when we have a job to do, we can’t afford to slack. No other job gets the block. 

Hospitality is a huge industry. Thousands of staff work day in and out throughout the calendar to ensure the rest of us are comfortable. I’ve never seen housekeeping personnel claiming they’re blocked. They get tired and even bored at their job. But that doesn’t mean they can’t, and don’t, finish their work.

Writers get tired, too. It isn’t easy to put words to thoughts on a daily basis and do it well, too. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it. It only means that we’re too bored or lazy to keep going. We just need to take a break and carry on. 

Calling it writer’s block is just a lame excuse for not sucking it up.