On Writing Around Midnight

It is always just around midnight, when days are at the cross roads, that piano music enters Lantern Post. Bach mostly since I recently discovered that it has remarkable power of silencing voices in my head… the voices of self-doubt and uncertainty. The same voices that for years have been whispering the same questions; ‘Why write?’, ‘For whom?’, ‘Why would anybody be interested?’ or ‘What can you say in your limited English that has not already being said in much better way?’ Until I silenced them with Bach’s music I was not able to write. And to remember what somebody once told me: ‘We do not write what we know, we write to find out what we know!’ 

Surely the voices are still there; only I cannot hear them over the music. And so I can get on with finding out what I know. What I remember. It seems one whole life that spans from growing up in a country which no longer exists to forging a life in a new country. It will take me some courage to write about it. This is where the Lantern Post comes in. I create it to help me keep it up. So in here I will blog about my writing progress and all the trials and tribulations of writing alongside a full-time job and in a second or even third language. On that subject there is an absolutely fantastic book written by Ha Jin called ‘The Writer as Migrant.’

I went out for a coffee yesterday with a friend who writes and reads in Arabic as it is his mother tongue. To describe why he cannot relate to poems or prose written in English, although he has lived and worked for many years in an English-speaking country, he told me he has to ‘taste the words’. He has to taste them and turned them around in his mouth like one does with exquisitely crafted piece of sweet, to feel the aroma, and to hear delicate melting sounds … I instinctively knew what he meant. When I wrote ‘krvovi zlacani plast odjevaju’ the taste and sound of those words which only represent ‘roof and gold and cloak …’ fills the frame with the picture of those roofs, as I saw them once … I do not know whether it is a trick or challenge or both to, despite it all, try and write in English. All I know is that this seems the only way I can now write. Just like it was the only way I could once write in Croatian (Hrvatski). This is what I think happens if words are your anchor. The only tool you have ever known with which to make sense of the world. If they got taken away one day; you drift, alone and unanchored. Until you reach this other shore and anchor yourself again. Still I do remember the day I first realize that my anchor is gone …

It was the morning I woke up in a damp motel room not far from the air-port and there was a hard lump in my throat where words should have been. They were there yesterday, and the day before … and the years before. I could see that there is a fine misty morning outside, rain coming down in a straight line (I was yet to learn that this is how it rains in South Pacific), I could see barefoot kids with smiles splashed across their brown faces running through paddles screaming, and I would have liked to open the door and smile at them and say something nice and friendly, (something THEY will RECOGNIZE as nice and friendly). Something that would have made their mother smile back at me and (maybe) invited me for a coffee so we can talk about kids and rain in that peculiar way that, (I was yet to learn) they call ‘small talk’. But I did not open the door. I did not even move the dirty curtain that covered the windows. I did not give any sign that I was there. I hardly breathed at all. Because of the lump in my throat where words should have been …

Author: Daniela

Reader, Writer, Mother, Freethinker, Habitual Day Dreamer, Blogger - Sharing Ideas, Poetry, Prose, and Conversations on the Lantern Post!

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