Today’s WordPress prompt is a rather interesting one. And, because it’s so interesting, I can’t find a suitable response –nor do I have an idea of what a “third-page” of an autobiography would look like.
Would it still go on about my life as a toddler? Do I really have to share that information? Because, besides the fact I have no personal knowledge, I don’t want to. Some memories I prefer to keep to myself (or rather, whatever memories my parents claimed I have).
So I’ll start ahead to when I was six, and a significant part of my life happened. Well, actually, it’s not as significant as other memories. But it’d definitely be on page 3.
Page 3 of The Most Uncreative Writer Ever Known: The Autobiography of Ramisa Raya
When I was a young girl, I first realised how unoriginal I was.
At the age of approximately six, I entered an art-competition. It was at our local Bengali center, where people gathered around. My father spent all night teaching me how to draw the shahid minar (a very famous symbol of Bangladesh, symbolising the war: kind of like poppies for the ANZAC).
My very encouraging mother told me that, since I was the worst artist her poor eyes had ever seen, I should not expect any prize. She had a point. And I suppose she meant well, in her own pessimistic sense, but my six-year-old self burst with (silent) outbursts of, “I can do this!”
So I went to the hall. We all gathered around the table, each got a piece of paper, and began splashing colours in every direction. The girl I sat next to had colours and I didn’t. She shared her felt-tip pens with me. It was friendship at first sharing.
I watched her draw. I forgot exactly what she drew (keeping in mind this was when I was six) but I watched her expression. She drew an outline, splashed colours beyond the extent of those dark lines. You know what? She looked so happy.
And I didn’t want to draw the war-memorial at all. It was, to my six-year-old self, utterly boring. So I went a different path entirely: I drew an alive house.
The prizes were announced. I was first place. The rest, I guess, is history.
But I totally ripped off that idea from a children’s program. I know I saw it on television. It didn’t stop me from copying it, making it my own, and handing it in.
And I think that’s important. I have never consider myself creative, because, well, I’m not.
That goes for my writing as well. I don’t write a story: I get snippets from every book I read. I see what works (favourite books) and what repulses me (books I hated) then I combine my knowledge, creating a novel of my own.
Little bits of quotes, little sentences, phrases, personalities, character development ideas: they all come from books, television and music. They inspire you, they increase knowledge. And even the worst books –the most awful books; you know, the kind you want to throw at people– have something amazing.
So don’t try being creative. Don’t think, “Oh, I won’t write this; it’s too cliche.”
In fact, nothing annoys me more than people saying something’s unoriginal. It doesn’t have to be. No broad topic really is. But how you manage to flesh it out, add detail, emotion and feeling: that’s what really plays out.
After all, there’s a reason why something’s “overused” or “cliche”: it works.
That turned out more as a rant than a autobiography. Oops.
But this post expands on an statement I’m truly passionate about: you don’t have to be creative to be a writer.
Heck, I’m one of the most logical people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting: math-loving, computer-technology-adoring and, well, antisocial (which seems like a stereotypical criteria, but I’ve found it to be freakishly accurate).
Inspiration is a nice thing to have, but you must be able to work without it. Writer’s block, you will find, is very subtle when you read excessively and stop trying to be original –like, having “beauty” pour out of every sentence.
So take a deep breath, open that Word document, and write. Not to be original, not to become the next Shakespeare or write words to cherish forever.
Instead, to be as happy as that girl beside me: not caring if she goes outside the lines, breaks all the rules or ends up with something completely unoriginal.
Just be happy writing.