The Story that I couldn't Write


Do you think one week is a lot of time? Even the planet Mercury takes more than fourteen weeks to go around the Sun, and it is really close to the star. I can put together a hundred different examples to prove to you that one week is really small, especially when it comes to work. It is unlike how time slows down when we are actually at our place of work. It is similar to those moments where our time enjoyed is cut short by a quartz clock disobeying the oscillating frequency of the material.


It has been a few days now that I get home and after all the routinely chores think about the story I had to write. Each day I would sit on my desk, take my notebook out, a pen in my hand and my eyes would start their job of staring blankly on the white paper in front of me. I could have torn at least twenty of those pages each day for all the failed topics I thought I can write about but thanks to my love for nature, and the knowledge that my next idea would be a waste too, I'd save the page to scribble more poor ideas.

Three tries and forty-two possible topics later, I realised that this will be the story that I couldn't write.

One of the topics, which is quite close to me, was social service. Not the 'large-scale, charity' kind of social service, rather helping those in need on a day to day basis. I thought about writing what I felt when I helped out a mother and her two kids in their endeavour to make it back to their village but I couldn't find the right words to put on paper. This was, however, the biggest draft I wrote before scratching off.

Then I had (quite)a few attempts at writing fictional tales. I might have covered almost all the genres that are known to the fiction world and for a moment I thought I may create a better magical world than the one where a kid with an 'N' like scratch on his forehead managed to slay the biggest magician know to 'magic-kind'. But then I realised that I thing like that would take a whole lot of research.

I took a shot at writing about something paranormal but I don't really like the idea of messing with 'them'. Yeah, I'm kidding. Honestly, I'm not really good at expressing anything that is scary. I've known this fact for ever since I destroyed everything that was scary about a highly rated horror movie when I narrated its plot to a few of my friends. They couldn't control their laughter and I don't think that we really need any more comic horror stories.

So I decided to return to reality and focus on a more 'from-my-life' plot for the story. And I rejected twenty-three topics that night. The supremely common topics like dreams, ambitions, hobbies and other future goals were scratched off in the first five minutes because, let's be honest, these topics just aren't good enough to make a good story. The audacity with which people write about their ambitions is mind-blowing.

There was this one time that a friend of mine told me about his skills on the guitar and his plans of starting up his own band. I was happy for him, for at least he was pursuing his ambitions for his (possible) career. The months that followed this conversation were loaded with his rants about how he is not progressing and then he'd go all over his plan once again. This continued until one day I told him, "If you'd waste your time with procrastination, we'd be having this same conversation ten years from now.", leaving him red-faced in front of our friends.

And this was the last time we (actually) talked. And it's OK. Procrastination is a very bad habit and it is best to avoid people who indulge in too much of it. Thankfully, this 'friend' always reminds me avoid (and stop, just in case I started) thinking too much over things. Life is all about keeping this people, dilly-dallying isn't.

This is another reason why I had forty-nine topics to work with. Yeah, most were scratched off rather quickly, but I still worked on a significant share of that number.

As I was saying, I've seen a lot of people brag about what they do or plan to. Especially those in the 'plan-to' part from my samples. Obviously, one won't regularly be in contact will all those people so they go on boasting about things that are yet to happen.

That is acceptable. It is human nature to please everyone we meet. But it is wrong and something that can be easily avoided. How? By doing things that make you better individually and worrying (and caring) about those who actually matter, like your parents and loved ones.

Writing about ambitions can put your thoughts into a mess as well. For those who take their writing seriously they may fool themselves into believing something that is nowhere near true about them. I had my cousin break her leg (not metaphorically) playing tennis when she could have written what I'm writing here good enough to be published in the editorial section of any leading daily.

Then there are those who just don't stop once they are started. A person who liked the chapter on 'networks and integrated circuits' would write about how they would have a start-up in 'Silicon Valley' in ten years. And someone who likes writing articles sees themselves as a writer for 'The Huffington Post' or 'The New York Times'. People can dream big but when you see them not working for their dreams, they are just one of those pretenders who get annoying real quick.

In easier terms, writing about your ambitions is good when you actually know what they are. If you are writing just because you have to, there's no point in that.

So I moved on to a happy topic - pets. Everybody likes watching a 'pug' or a 'dachshund' strolling around with their short, stubby legs or wants the perfect pet that is the 'golden retriever'. Cats are, certainly, very popular as pets. And they should be, for they are far more loyal than dogs. You didn't know this, do you? It is a scientifically tested and the results of the experiment were that dogs are more in love with the food while cats will stick around with their masters/mistresses.

There are more to pets than just cats and dogs. Ever since we saw a small white mouse ride a car and drive a plane, we (kids, to be specific) wanted a pet like that. Then there are less conventional pets like turtles and spiders. And I mean the large hairy spiders (the small ones are difficult to see).  Hamsters are a common choice for pet as well, and so are small fishes.

So, what's wrong about writing a story about a pet animal. Nothing, to be frank. But I couldn't find a lot to write about it. My bulldog is fine, it is strong, healthy, helps me with my exercise with his morning walk-run hybrids. And that's about it. Could I write about how I found him and pet him?

Surely, but it isn't a story that will be entertaining. Let's be honest, there is nothing interesting about adopting a dog at a pet shop. Unless you set it loose once you are get out and then chase it as it runs down a busy highway.

But my dog is smart and it has learnt about life being a precious gift. And despite its tough looks, it is, by no means, a daredevil. Not even 'ish'.


***

It was the 'earthquake-esque' shaking of my desk (thanks to my phone) that woke me up. I might have attempted to turn the alarm off with the switch on my pen, but in my defence, this 'un-writable' story has kept me awake really late. And I'm still not done. The only thing that I've managed to do is scratch (now) fifty topics and the last line that I wrote about my dog (if you are interested in knowing its name, it's 'Rad').

I have to say that if I put as much effort in working on those topics as I've in this log, I would have completed my work and would have done it well. I would have saved a lot of time (and pages) if I had put my energy in writing a single piece instead of fifty. I guess it needs a lot more planning (and not procrastination) when you are working on something like a creative piece of work.


When I went over this log again, I have to admit that this was better than anything I've written in the rest of the possible pieces. It was well organised and the different parts were short and punchy. This was an experience from my life and an experienced that I've narrated, and narrated very well. The writing, the narration, the content all points to one thing - it is a story.