Why Writers are hardly pleased

thomas-mann-writing-quote-poster

I am yet to come across a writer who is absolutely satisfied with their work, so satisfied that the nagging, incessant voices of dissatisfaction are silenced. There is always that feeling that something more is needed, a final polish to make the work a classic piece of art. There have been days when I have entertained thoughts of getting my very own ghost writer, someone with a spiritual connection to my soul so that I could easily channel my thoughts and emotions to them. Then they would write on my behalf.
I have come across other people’s work and thought to myself “that could almost pass for my work! How did the writer convey the message so succinctly, and in such beautiful words?” And almost instantly, my yearning for that priceless ghost writer resurfaces! But we can’t walk through life wishing someone else would tell our story; we have an almost divine mandate to have the world hear our story. We have to write, we must write. Sometimes it is the only way some people stay sane.
If you are one of those writers who aren’t particularly fond of your work, you’re in good company. It isn’t strange at all to hold in doubt the perfection of your own work. There have been prolific writers who disliked their work. Ian Fleming, Anthony Burgess and Franz Kafka are a few of such writers. Kafka’s death wish was that all his works would be burned!

One would ask what use there is in this attitude of pervasive self-doubt. Why make a life out of writing if you can’t love every bit of what you do? The answer I have for this is in a quote by Martha Graham.

“It is not your business to determine how good it is or how valuable it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You have to keep yourself open and aware of the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open… No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatsoever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and making us more alive.”

It is this queer divine dissatisfaction that makes extraordinary writers out of ordinary ones. It is what causes us to make a vocation out of writing. It is what shifts our writing from a mere hobby to a calling.

By Dede Williams

 

 

What is Love?— 6 Writers (Un)define Love

Girdblog has been asking writers what seems like a simple question, “What is love?” We got some insightful answers from six writers from Ghana, Cameroon and Kenya. Find out how they (un)define love below.

6 Writers (Un)define Love
Gird (Un)define –6 Writers (Un)define Love

“The most expected, yet the most difficult question. Love would be conquering fear so that I bring into my space, someone/something that would challenge my inadequate knowledge of myself. I see a self-examination, a self-learning so that I can love truly and honorably.”

-Robbie Ajjuah Fantini

Robbie Ajjuah Fantini is the Author of Talking Robbish. Visit her website: robertaturkson.com to find  out more about her work.


 “For me, love is many sets of actions. In a relationship, it’s when someone decides to be kind, patient, thoughtful, giving and all the other good things in spite of the other party. It is what you do. Not a feeling. Or I should say, not just a feeling.”

-Nana Ama Agyeman Asante

Nana Ama Agyeman Asante is a journalist who in her own words is ‘crazy and curious’ she blogs at nnyamewaa.com


“The conscious sharing with, believing in and acting on that belief of yourself with another. Love is the action taken upon believing in someone else and the possibility of them with you.  It is the behaviour displayed in appreciation of who another is despite the flaws you are conscious of. It is the willing sharing of self and another, opening up to celebrate what is and what may be.”

-Monique Kwachou

Monique Kwachou is a Cameroonian writer and youth advocate gradually developing a career in academia with focus on gender, education, and development.


“Black hole

Metaphoric hole for a never-ending maze

Unlearning the language of skin

Unlearning the memory of coexistence

Music with no rhythm

Voice without purpose

Lips that are unfamiliar with the curve of a smile

A sun that only sets

The absence of absence to nurture fondness of the heart.

An empty glass”

-Ama Asantewa Diaka (aka Poetra)

Ama Asantewa Diaka is a writer, poet, content editor,  designer, contemplating geek and a voracious reader. She blogs at asantewableedswords.wordpress.com


“Stopping the run away from your shame and not fixing it either. [Love is] hugging it [your shame], and saying you are a part of me… I love you, anyway.

Derek Walcott, says it better with his poem,  Love After Love:

The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was

your self

.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

-Kiprop Kimutai 

Timothy Kiprop Kimutai emerged the second runner’s up for the Kwani? Manuscript Project. His book The Water Spirits will soon be published. He is a co-founder of Jalada Africa, a Pan African writers’ collective. Kiprop has edited an anthology of short stories themed around afro-futures, porn sex and insanity, all of which have been published at jalada.org


“Willing to do everything for someone without expecting anything in return. Accepting that person’s flaws, liking everything about that person.”

-Sharlene Apples

Sharlene Apple is the author of TOWGA— The One Who Got Away. Sharlene’s TOWGA is an erotic adventure that will challenge your thoughts on morality and sexuality.

You Be Good, Not Me ~By Mercy Ananeh-Frempong

I want to talk to you

But i want you to start first.

Talk to me,

And i’ll talk to you.

Say you’re sorry —again.

Say it like you mean it.

Hell, mean it;

Then I’ll talk to you.

I want to talk to you,

But I think I’ll save it.

Till you open that trap;

Then I’ll talk to you.

Mercy Ananeh-Frempong is a freelance writer and communication consultant from Ghana. She is an outspoken writer and a fresh breeze in her chosen opinions. Mercy says, “I do not write words, I craft thoughts.”