Sometimes I have to trick myself into writing. I don’t feel like it – I’m tired, or the sun is beckoning me outside, or I am being distracted by the words of others – but I know I should, I know I have to. I know I have to make it count, this time I’ve been gifted – and it is a gift, in many more ways than one. I have to get it out, how I see the world, how I see myself in relation to the world. I have to tell myself how I see it. And I want to tell you too, in case it may mean something to you. I don’t much mind if it doesn’t, but I’ll be glad if it does.
I trick myself into writing in one of two ways.
Either: I wait until a phrase or sentence hooks itself in my head – like ‘Sometimes I have to trick myself into writing’. And then I tap it out on the keyboard and see where it leads. Sometimes it goes nowhere, and the trick loosens nothing more than a shrug of well-shrugged shoulders, a scratch of a well-scratched head. Sometimes it leads to a fragment, which might eventually find itself joined to other fragments and so mosaic-like eventually become part of a whole. And just occasionally I’ll find I’ve tricked myself into an unstoppable flow, resulting in a more or less complete piece of writing, and it’s almost as though it has been summoned out of nowhere, or at least, from the mysterious place in the mind which sifts and blends a lifetime’s doing and being done to, a lifetime’s thoughts and imaginings, madly circling like a plump dog curling to chase – trying to catch and bite – its strangely wiry tail.
Or: I trick myself into writing by heading to my wirebound, polypropylene notebook, in which the latest of my penned scribblings are contained. Laboriously I transcribe these, and in the act of transcription hope that a phrase or a paragraph sparks a further flow, a gathering of words about a core, like candy floss about a stick or a ball of snow about a compacted snowball; or perhaps something less edible, more permanent. Something in any case that might be presented on a stick, or have arms and buttons fitted to it, or be cast in seemingly everlasting bronze. The original core may ultimately prove to be nothing more than a fringe thought; it may completely disappear, for new words to slip in and take or fill its place. Or it may remain a hollow, a subtracted element, another mystery; a wild slim alien, escaping from the earth.