Photo credit: Joshua Fuller
The Default State of a Writer
By Humairah Jamil
The default state of a writer
isn’t a cigarette-smoking,
character. It isn’t sitting by the window,
admiring the flowers in fall,
overlooking the blues and greens
while waiting for a ray
of inspiration to descend. It isn’t
an inexorable flow of the pen.
It isn’t picturing Bukowski
and his cats, Murakami and
his jazz, or the films that put
the writer in a rose-tinted light.
It isn’t sitting in libraries or cafés
looking pensive and poised
with words jumping at you
as you write, write, write.
A writer is neither ridiculously
knowledgeable nor wise.
The default state of a writer,
to be honest, is a mess.
Not one-size-fits-all. Clueless at best.
With a burning desire to discover
the self, and the constellation of cells
that connects. It is laborious.
Languorous. It is 5am routines.
Discipline. It is language
edited. Backspace. Embellish.
Write. Erase. Write.
What am I doing with my life?
Save as draft. Enter. Delete.
It is tears on paper; of disappointment,
of laughter. The writer as a light bearer
is a romantic conceit.
21st century ones are the strangest.
In between meetings and
an avalanche of work,
watching films, after arguments
dripping in disdain, through eavesdropped
conversations in the train.
It is furiously typing on iPhone Notes.
It is scribbling on folded receipts.
It is unmonetizable. It is foolish.
with hope in hand. So here is where
the writer sits. Or stands. Dreams
and does. With nothing
but a pen, spilling all the voices
that won’t sit still. Tending
the mind garden, no matter
how long and excruciating, patient
in curating haphazard thoughts
and sentiments and lessons