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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.