IN SEARCH OF WORDS…
Once in a while, every writer is faced with a chronic inability to write.
They call it writers’ block. There you are, in front of the computer, staring at the monitor, your eyes aching, your brain blank, and your heart pacing fast.
You need to write something. Anything. You’ve got a deadline to meet. God help you if you’re working on an article for which you’ve been paid an advance. The ideas are flowing through your head like waves on a Caribbean ocean. But nothing is distinct.
Every now and then, you think you’ve hit the idea! Then your adrenalin pumps more blood into your system and you hit your fingers on the keypad. Then you suddenly go blank again. Blank! Gawd! How frustrating!
Most times, it’s not as if there’s nothing to write. There is actually a lot to write. It is the words to write them that become elusive. The eloquence. You’re like a tap, with water in its reservoir, but blocked along the pipes. There’s water in the system, but unless something is done to clear the pipe, the tap will not bring a single drop of water.
Let me use myself as an example. Right now, I’m struggling to find the words as I write – very unlike me; I burn with energy and passion when I write. I love writing. But right now, I wish I was a banker. Or a stockbroker. Anything to take me away from the written word. How am I going to write the thousands of words that usually make up soliloquy? Somebody heeeeeeeeeeeelp!
And it’s not as if I’ve got nothing to say. See, so much happened in the past week that I know I should write about. Like 9ice getting arrested and almost locked up for what the police called ‘traffic offence’. That’s an opportunity to throw some punches at the infamous police force again; an opportunity also, to send a cautionary note to 9ice: the overzealous cop that shot at his tyre could have shot at him. ‘Boy, be careful with Nigerian cops next time’, I would have written. But I can’t find the words!
See, someone called me during the week; someone very highly placed in the industry, telling me
that 2face Idibia and Joice Ize Iyamu have stopped working together.
He said 2face’s back-up vocalist (called hypesman in hip hop) has taken over as Idibia’s new manager. If I could find the words, I would have thrown jibes at Idibia and Natzi; I would have advised them to take this business more seriously. If I could find the words, I would have traced the pattern of artiste-manager relationship in . I would have thrown a few punches. Sadly, the words escape me now.
As I sat in front of my PC, begging baba God for inspiration to write, I saw the video ‘you go wound o’ by Ill Bliss again. And I wondered: can’t I just have the right words to X-ray that brilliant rap by Kel, the relatively unknown female MC that killed it on Ill ’s song?
Where have all the words gone? Anyone’s got some words to hire? I soon found myself screaming. But I’m home alone so there’s no one to help. ‘You’re on your own’ my mind tells me.
I’ve listened to Eedris’s new album over and over again. How come I can’t find the words to say exactly how I feel about the act’s latest attempt at resuscitating his career? How come I can’t conceive the poetry to describe Etcetera’s excellent debut album? One of my very few favourite acts Terry G finally dropped his debut album, and my mind is blank; I can’t even wax lyrical and give you a thousand and one reasons why you should buy the young man’s album.
That’s how I watched Psquare being crowned Best African act 2008 at Ghana music awards, and I thought to write a piece on why they need to invite me when they’re celebrating the feat. Then I remembered I was experiencing ‘word-famine’ and decided to respect myself.
And I’m so silly, instead of turning to marijuana like some of my very good friends, I’m chewing my lower lips, battling a bottle of groundnut and yawning endlessly. Perhaps I’ll feel better if I took a nap.
I did, and it would have worked if my editor didn’t appear in my dreams, with a whip in both hands, asking for my copies, and threatening to descend on me like those cops descended on 9ice.
‘Ayeni where are your copies. It’s already Thursday’
‘I’m working on them ma’am. I think someone stole my flow’
‘Then call the police’
How I wish the god of words had appeared in my dream, giving me some amulet to wear on my wrist and some concoction to drink, as remedy to my situation, rather than my editor who I suspect believes I’m not a victim of writers’ block – but just a lazy procrastinator who’s looking for an undeserved holiday.
But you and I know that’ not the problem, abi? I think, to say the truth, I might just have had too much to eat and drink these past days. My friend had this lavish naming ceremony for his baby last Sunday and, seeing how the drinks were circulating, I thought it wise to conserve some in my system for future use. As for the food, didn’t they say there as an ongoing food crisis all over the world? How could I have known it was wrong to consume so much food in three days that my tummy is threatening to explode? How was I to known that, unlike the ruminants, I do not have four stomachs to regurgitate stored food?
I suspect there are some chemicals in alcohol and food, that if consumed in excess, could impede man’s ability to write. And, since I consumed these things out of fear of being affected by the global food crisis, I think I am only a victim.
Okay, maybe not exactly a victim of writers’ block. But I’m a victim anyway. A victim of global food crisis.
Did you actually read this to the end?