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Will The Real Author Please Stand Up?

Do you ever get envious of other people’s words?

The way they’re so intricately, elegantly, genuinely made. The way that the sentimental fervour and tortured passion rings out plangently from beyond the curled pages of the book and strikes sharp aches and twinges in even the most desensitised heart. The way you could read them for days at an end and never get tired of the intangible shapes they form, the sophisticated literary art they create, the breathtaking stories they tell. The way that you can never really understand what that individual meant, what they truly felt, and you aren’t quite sure if you could even place yourself in their perception and situation, but despite all that, they’re still your emotions. They’re confusing. Messy. A foreign tongue that no soul, living or deceased, can ever know how to speak again. But you can feel them latching in your hair, your skin, your eyes, your lips, speaking your mind, all the words you don’t know how to say, all the senses you never knew existed in the first place, all the thoughts you don’t know how to feel.

And so you feel inspired. And so you attempt to write.

But your words, on the other hand, are rather insipid and unamusing. They’re the proverbial rain that never gets written about. The damp, stuffy, erratic kind of drizzle that relents to the point of irritation and drips down cracked ceilings and forgotten open windows. The kind that’s well-meant by the dear weather, but never makes its humble way in poets’ thoughts and poetry books, except occasionally to emphasise a depressing thought. You could stand outside that downpour for days at an end and get not a single drop of water on your skin. Your words feel cheap and secondhand, sharp edges worn-down to cliches and dull torpor, no wit to be found anywhere. Your words are no one else’s and you aren’t quite sure if they’re even yours, or just by the ghost that resides behind your empty ribs. It’s confusing. Messy. A foreign tongue that not a soul, living or deceased, knows how to speak. They’re all the words you can’t say, all the thoughts you don’t know how to feel, but you try to make sense of them anyway.

Do you ever wish…that you couldn’t write?

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