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On writing

‘My name is Jose. This is how it is spelled (J-O-S-E). In the Philippines we pronounce it the same way as in English (Hosay). And the Arabs pronounce it is as do the Spanish speakers (Khosay). And the Portuguese speakers, they spell it the same, and pronounce it (Josay). But all these name variations have nothing to do with my name here, in Kuwait. Here I am Essa.’

‘If I were to be like the bamboo tree, a tree of no belonging.  Break a part of its stalk and plant it, with no roots, in any land. It does not wait long before its new roots break into earth. It grows all over again in a new land. It lets go of its past. It lets go of its memories. It does not even care that people have not agreed on its name – kawayan in the Philippines, khaizaran in Kuwait, or bamboo in other places.’

An adaptation of two beautiful excerpts from a beautiful book. The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi.

Who says writing is easy.  It’s painful.

It’s painful conjuring up emotions, beliefs, inspirations.  It’s painful finding the right words, rhythm, style.  It’s painful cutting out words.  It’s painful letting go of a piece.  It’s painful waiting to find out whether people like it or not.  Oh, it’s all so, so painful.

But you know what’s much, much more painful?

Not writing.

She lays her darling darlings on the page.  Side by side.  At times she snuggles in a dot, at times a squiggle.

Her darling darlings, all so dear.

Some, perhaps, too dear.  She doesn’t let go.  Takes them back.  Back into her soul.

And lets the others run free.

In silence strums the solitude poet;

His words his strings, his pen his pick, his poem his song;

To be sung on stage by another, to an oblivious crowd.

He stands back stage.

She lets go of them, one by one by one.  Until all have fallen onto the page. 

Her words escape her to belong to another, and another, and another. 

They are no longer hers.

 

She opens her box of beads and strings.  Each string a different color and length.  Each bead a different color, shape and size.

She picks a string.  Then, she carefully picks and chooses her beads.

She slips the chosen beads through the string.  One bead follows another – in rhythmic sequence.

Until she has a perfect string of beads.

Then, she ties the two ends of the string together to make a bracelet.

 She slips the bracelet on a little girl’s hand.

 And says to her, ‘This one is for you.’

I dedicate this to every strong and beautiful woman that was kind and generous enough to express her admiration for the strings of words I share with all of you each day. 

Step away from his writing room.  And keep his door closed.  (But have his window slightly open to let in fresh air.)

Now keep it quiet, so that he can hear the voices inside his head.

He will write something great, he promises.

A masterpiece he will dedicate to you and to me.