What happens when the writer’s block – that dreaded ennui of creative juices – becomes the inspiration for a poetic outpouring? Would it be gibberish or genius? When Sylvia Plath called self-doubt the worst enemy of creativity, she was definitely onto something.
And so we wonder, what happens when the doubting begins and the self does not suffice, when the ideas do not translate the way we want on paper? Can’t we take our failures and turn them into art? Just like our beloved high priestess of feminist poetry, our Lady Lazarus, whose phoenix’s soul ate men like air.
Here’s an attempt to mould language to fit one’s writing when words begin to fail but imagination keeps soaring high.
I took my pen on a walk
On the white fields
Of this paper town
A dirge to my dogeared diary.
Crumpled pages fall—
Snowflakes on the mezzanine floor.
The writing desk a war zone—
Between character and confidence
This is where you suspend all belief, faith and hope—
Call for the muses to arrive,
All the while awaiting a story
Halting enroute my keyboard.
The cursor blinks; my eyes transfixed.
The light flicks, blips, and tricks—
A chokehold on my imagination.
Now, my body is a broken cup,
A begging bowl for narrative alms.
Life pours onto my heart,
Lips on the cusp of a meaning
The centre cannot hold—
Ideas slip through the cracks,
Every crisis, a plot twist.
The wind rises, the heart whispers—
Streaks of green, blue, black, red.
On the road that never ends.
Ink on fresh parchment
Towards the margins of memory.
Every word that drops from my nib
Collects on my sheets
Does it feed the ego?
Is craft your sustenance?
Sudeshna is a writer, poet, and editor with bylines in Smashboard, Feminism in India, Cocoa & Jasmine Magazine and Red River Publishing. Her piece on female friendship will appear in an anthology published by Yoda Press. A recipient of South Asia Speaks 2022 fellowship, she is currently writing an eco-feminist account of Dhanbad, the coal capital of India. Her writings focus on female friendships, gender representations in media and the relationship between culture and climate crisis.