the hole a man falls in is where his god pushed him down.
On writer’s block, & horror.
It has been a while since I wrote something. The simple answer is writer’s block. I don’t need to explain that to you - you’ve heard and read all about it. But the problem isn’t writer’s block - writer’s block is just a physical manifestation/expression of what truly ails the writer. A symptom, if you will.
The more pressing issue to address is the why: why can’t he seem to pick up inspiration from the same things that made him pour out stories and essays? Why can’t he write poems from the mundane like before? You all know him, he is the writer whose pen is persuaded by the most trivial of subjects; a tiny paper bag floating in the wind, an empty jar of mayonnaise, the cries of a child, and so on and so forth. So, why?
Well, the truth is that I lost my capacity for words. Not in a passive “oh, I can’t seem to think of anything so I won’t write” manner, but in an I-opened-my-laptop-and-began-to-type-but-the-words-were-stale-like-old-bread sort of way. I began to doubt my ability to write and began to question myself. I felt like a fraud who had been found out. In all honesty, I still feel that way but I am here because when words are in your belly, and thoughts are in your mouth, they do not care about your feelings. All they want to do is pour out.
My people say that the hole a man falls in is where his god pushed him down. But they also say that when something bigger than the cricket enters the cricket’s hole, the cricket has no choice but to fly out. My Chi pushed me inside this rut, but these words are bigger than the crickets, so the crickets must make space. They must fly away so I exist in this new form: pushed, bent, broken; but also alive, making sense of this world.
The only issue with making sense of the world is that it feels horrible.
When we think about horror, the image that comes to mind is the supernatural. A bewitching above, a haunting below, a possession beside. Screaming nuns, devil dolls- our feelings about the word are influenced by Hollywood and media portrayals. But what is horrible? What is horrific?
I believe that the scariest things are the ones we are in danger of experiencing. In Lagos, the possibility of you being crushed to death by a trailer is a thousand times higher than your toy becoming sentient via demonic possession. You will get hit by a drunk driver before a thousand-year-old corpse awakens to haunt you and your family.
Tinubu becoming President is more terrifying than Frankenstein because he’s the real zombie. Nah, stay with me here: Walks slowly? Check. Incoherent? Check. Should be kept in a protected cage/house because of the threat he poses to everyone? Absolutely checked.
What else is horrible? Hunger, the absence of fulfillment, unrequited love. When you are tossing and turning because you are down bad for a person and you know they don’t feel the same way. It sucks, doesn’t it? You have all this love to give, but it’s a very specific type of love - for one person, and they don’t want it. It sucks because it’s not their fault, and it’s not your fault; it’s just an extremely unfortunate situation. So now, you have all that love to give, but there’s anger beside it. And frustration. And pain.
I’m lonely. I’m lonely in the midst of love, and it is the most horrifying thing. I am losing myself and going out and performing life in a body that people interact with, joke with, and even fuck, but it’s not real. They are saying that they love me and have my back, and I know it’s true because their eyes do not lie. But of what use is their love if I do not love myself? All the support in the world counts for shit because I do not feel worthy of it.
This is the hole that my Chi pushed me in. I have knelt down and begged, I have prayed, I have asked - I even commanded, and all I got in return was silence. Silence is horror. Screaming into the void and all you get back is thick quiet. The kind that wraps you up, and pushes you further into the hole. So deep in that the dirt has crept up from your toes to your neck, and your head is the only thing above ground (barely), and there is nothing on your tongue but questions.
Why? Why do I feel like a shell? Why can’t I write poems? Why am I so scared? Why did you push me down? Silence. Total silence except for the sound of your breathing.
Ah, yes- you are breathing. A solitary face with soil for a body and pain in your dirt-stained heart, and Ritalin fucking up your body, but alive. Alive in this new form: pushed, bent, broken - yet, making sense of this world.