On Writing And Emotions

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There are times when I could honestly profess that I love writing; but although the passion itself waxes and wanes as time flies, one statement always holds true: writing is my favoured way of passing information.

When I speak, I am shackled by my whims and impulse. Half-baked thoughts and incomplete words are tumbling over each other, guided only by my current sentiment that disintegrates at the next moment to be replaced anew. It’s like a wild cooperation team with a leader who switches their strategy everyday and everyone is scrambling to keep up with half the needed resource.

However, when I write, I am forced to fully form my sentences in a methodical and grammatical manner. It allows me to look for exact words that could convey the specific information in a particular way. Even when I don’t have the words to precisely identify a particularly vague and shapeless thought, I can still describe it in a satisfying way, closest to being accurate.

And like using a conditioner in your tangled hair, it allows me to better separate individual strands of thoughts from my emotions; which helps me to present my opinions honestly from my mind, unclouded by spontaneous feelings. There have been many times when I can feel the excitement bubbling beneath the exterior when I speak, bordering on desperation, and it’s nerve-wrecking how much influence it has to the words I say.

I still have emotions leading my thoughts when I write but they are much more grounded in my beliefs and principles which form the person I am. Even when I do write in a fit of passion and you could feel the emotions brimming from my words, it comes from a more honest and constant stream of expression — not the whimsical feel of the moment which are often not even accurate to how I really feel on a deeper level.

Because, really, our emotions are often at the base of our inconsistencies, which is the signature trait of a human being. History is full of dutiful and honourable men who call for fights to the death or even wage war upon one another. Gentle mothers who sense a threat aiming at their child could transform into raging behemoths and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

To strip ourselves of all emotions is futile and impossible (although I could not say I haven’t tried) but to fall victim to the bully that is our impulsive thoughts is to beckon chaos and regret.

I believe that the best choice for me is to embrace my sentimental side in all of its paradoxical nature and to try my best at cultivating it into a semblance of a civilised being. One who is aware of the changes within and holds fast to the pillar of faith that gives it structure. I hope to guide my emotions instead of letting it have full control over steering me.

Which is why writing is my favoured way of passing information. It gives me more control on my words, what curates it and how I present it, with an accuracy I could never achieve when I speak.

 

Reclaiming My Ship

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In my ‘writing’ years when I devoted myself to the art of telling stories and weaving words, I enjoyed participating in writing prompts and exercises that I find on the web. One that I remember fondly was Plinky, which acted as a starter to kickstart your writing gear. All they did was give you a question; how you wish to address it or create your prose is all up to you. It used to be a feature offered here on WordPress. However, I used mine separately, as back then, my blog was where I wrote my writing assignments and I wasn’t sure if the journal-style writing I wrote there was up to my parent’s passing grade.

Similarly, I enjoy almost all of the composition papers I had to sit through recently on both my A-Level and SPM exams. Stripped from all of their disguises and the pressure of knowing that whatever your ink happens to spew at that moment shall determine your future career, they are in fact, writing prompts — with an added time limit and a wandering invigilator who sometimes glance over your work and remind you that you haven’t written your identification number at the top of the page.

Whenever I do those exercises, I try to detach myself from reality. I try to forget that this is going to make or break my future. The path of my pen, the shape of my ink and the message I craft were mine and my own. Even though I had technicalities to mind, formats to memorise and the examiners to please, I was an illusionist on stage, bending the limitations of senses to my will.

I may not be the best performer but I was my own and come what may, I have an audience waiting. I shall run my own show.

Naturally, when I opened my inbox today and received a message from the Australian Writer’s Centre asking me to share a one word theme I am choosing for the year 2020, my brain launched into a state of excitement, generating vague thoughts and ideas until a shape began to form. I lunged at it, peered at it and watched it grow into a word, a command, a statement: Reclaim.

Reclaim. The past decade had been like a tumultuous storm and waves of all sizes had crashed into my vessel. On the peak of crests, I had grown and matured, standing tall above the ocean and reading the curls of every wave as I do the names of every star. In the deepest of troughs, I had withered in fear as the sea, that I have loved as my home, stretched its maw and threatened to swallow me whole. For the most part, I had watched passively from the bridge with my compass long gone, glancing at the stars only when the whim strikes me. But this year, I want to try something I had been afraid of doing; to hold the wheel and reclaim my ship.

I am not delusional enough to think that the waves would stop crashing just because I tell them to stop. I am aware that shouting my resolution to the sky to be carried by wind is to tempt untethered wild emotions both from me and others around. I also know that I will have days when the storm seems everlasting and all I could think of is the deep set fear that haunts my nights and tortures my days.

But they will be my challenge, my journey, my adventure.

I am the captain of this ship and it is my hand that should steer it.