WordPress 106 … Writing and Perception

writing & perception

Railroad tracks appear to meet at the horizon, but a closer walk disproves this. One of the challenges of writing a personal blog is that fantasy is congruent to reality. Take this phone call for instance.

“I just read your latest post.”

“Without me harassing you? Great! What did you think?”

“Hmmm . . . hmmm, was it about you?”

“No, but I draw on my experiences to weave a realistic tale, to find metaphors that resonate—”

“Cut the crap. Was it about you?”

“No . . . why?”

“Thank God. Em, now I know, I’ll read it again and let you know what I think. Bye!”

 

If dinner conversation turns to my blog, friends who don’t read my blog pant in anticipation of the backstory to my posts.

“So?”

“I can’t answer that! I’m a very private person—”

“Who writes a very public blog; puhleeze, answer us!” someone protests.

 

William Faulkner said, “A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.” Some friends think I write about them.

“Stop,” she says using one hand to cover Sola’s mouth. Turning to me, “Swear you won’t blog about it.”

I rise and gather my stuff. Who do they think I am, a gossip columnist? Who do they think they are, The Real Housewives of Atlanta?

“Timi, it’s alright, stay—” Sola frees her mouth and speaks.

I make small shakara, “Look if you guys don’t want me here . . .”

 

Language is many things and writing is powerful. Writers use words to conjure images and evoke emotion. Words are magic; they make zombies run marathons and sprinters limp. Words are make-up; they hide blemishes and paint pale cheeks a rosy hue.

Words confuse too. They make the writer bigger than life; like that boy I had a crush on. He always sat in the car, looking wicked in Ray-Ban, while his friend who drove to my parent’s house, stood and made small talk.  The day he came out of the car, his white crocodile-skin shoes, white jeans, and white t-shirt, did not catch my attention. Leaving his hand hanging in the air, I blurted, “I thought you’d be taller,” and decrushed him for good.

Writers select words that match their objectives. They use words to hint at meaning and sell tell a story unbound by rhythm and verse. With their words, they entice you to dance in a fire you did not light.

My about page is the fourth highest viewed page on my blog so far. I get it. If a piece of writing moves me, I read the author’s bio to confirm or refute my perception. So, you want to know? Let me tell. I’m simple, but my drama has commercials in between. I don’t articulate myself as well as I wish, but I write excellently, the sentences I wish I had spoken. If you live on the fast lane, I will never overtake you. If you sashay to the music that I play, you will find me here in the words on display.

After I draft this, a friend reads it.

“You could have called this, Things You Didn’t Know About Me, and left all the flowery stuff out.” He yawns and reaches for the remote control.

His language is different from mine. He fuels my insecurities. But without him, I would ramble past 800 words.

“Where’s the fun in that?” I argue.

He shrugs, “Writing is a lot like Photoshop.”

Sunday. Doubts nibble on my mind like ants on sugar. I stamp them out. I know I’ve won when the picture of me in your head is the same as the picture of me in my head.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Image credits: avatar by Microsoft

Design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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39 thoughts on “WordPress 106 … Writing and Perception

  1. It’s beautiful, so beautiful…I’m tearing up here. I want to be a writer like you when I grow up.

    You’re so right. Wish I’d read William Faulkner already. I thought I was pretty uninventive drawing on actual experiences I’ve had or observed. Maybe I can be a writer too after all.

    Thanks Timi. You’re such a gem.

    Like

    1. I like to think that the most interesting stories are about the human condition; that when people read a story, they are looking for themselves or someone they know in the story. What better way to entertain and/or inform than highlight stories from our lives (or those around us), with a lively twist 😉

      Thank you for your kind words. Of course you’re a writer!

      Like

  2. I love your drama, commercials and you are never “simple,” Timi! Complicated, yes! I am always happy and amused here. I chose you to be in my top 21 people to receive The Sunshine Award for 2014! Take care, Robin

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  3. Ha, Timi! I see the party started without me.

    Something strange happened to me recently. After publishing a post my mind remained unsettled. Was I personal enough, was my voice clear, should I incorporate more fiction, etc. You see, Philosophy classes has almost robbed me of my imagination. I got called out for having wordy introductions often. “We aren’t here to read novels, Margaret” my professor often said. Proofreading college essays for students didn’t help much either. Lol

    I grew up ready historical books. Imagery was really important to me that I once smelled burning coal in my living room, rushed out only to find out that I was too immersed in my reading. I miss those days.

    My point is that a writer needs to be a storyteller. Storytelling predates writing, and whether as a means of entertainment, education or from personal events, elements like plot, character, and narration are VERY MUCH needed.

    I need to get my writing mojo back, it’s been too long. Lol you are my inspiration oo *in naija accent* I won’t wonder whether you’re writing about you or not. I’d rather scratch my head and say “How does she do it every time?” Thanks for writing, Timi 🙂

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    1. I’m glad you still made it & your comment is gold. Academic writing doesn’t cause me to tingle, but when I have to do business writing, I am concise. However, businesses are looking for ways to tell their “story”.

      @storyteller, I agree. I draw my inspiration from Jesus Christ, who in my opinion, as far as his humanity is concerned, was a great intellectual & storyteller. Beyond the inspiration that his words carried, he captivated his audience by encapsulating moral & life lessons in stories that resonated with his audience.

      Film makers use visuals, sound & words to tell a story. Musicians use sound & words. A writer faces the challenge of using words alone to cause the reader to see pictures & hear sounds.We definitely need all the elements you mention to effectively pass our message across.

      So yes to more storytelling. I inspire you? I’m humbled, thank you!

      Like

  4. Let’s get this straight right now: White crocodile-skin shoes would end any crush I could possibly have. She could be the loveliest, sweetest, most romantic, intelligent, and articulate lady on the planet, but all I can think of now is her shoes… those hideous shoes… this decision she has made to wear these shoes makes me question everything else.

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      1. You couldn’t write a bad sentence, my dear. That particular bit of fashion imagery had a rather forceful effect on me, though. Perhaps I once had a girlfriend stolen by a guy in crocodile shoes and blocked it out of my memory.

        😉

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  5. lol…..love, love love…
    i remember all those guys I unceremoniously decrushed……demystification will do that any time. Guys: free advice (string silent type….push as long as you can).

    Thanks Timi, you made my morning

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  6. Wonderful delivery, even more wonderful content! And I like how you blended dialogue in. I can totally relate to people asking if a post (poetry or prose) is about you or not. (I’ve even written a poem about it)
    I always say “It’s one thing to write about an experience, it’s another to write out of an experience.”
    I don’t articulate myself as well as I wish too, and I hope to hone my writing skills even better.
    People need to understand that perception and assumption/presumption are very different, and when people have an altered image of you when they read your piece, then they don’t know how to enjoy good literature!

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    1. True @“It’s one thing to write about an experience, it’s another to write out of an experience.”
      @articulation, yes, I want to get better too.
      @perception, your comment has me thinking: maybe we articulate ourselves better than we give ourselves credit for; maybe we are like the actor who plays the villain so well, everyone thinks he’s a villain in real life. Maybe it’s a compliment. Maybe? Oh yeah, *rolls eyes* maybe! 🙂
      Dunni, your POV is always refreshing, I like your voice! Thank you.

      Like

  7. I am so glad you said that part of what you write is really ‘you’ and others are drawing from characters, friends, people you have noticed. I had someone call me a “liar” and that person was complaining that first, I sometimes write about things and wait to post them, so the time element doesn’t always match with reality and also, I combined people in a few of my love stories, not wishing to give the ‘true’ or ‘total picture’ away. Thanks, Timi! Your honesty makes me feel better. As writers, we should be able to take ‘artistic license!’ Oh, that commenter goes straight to “Spam!” Smiles, Robin

    Like

    1. Yes!@ artistic license. Lol@ commenter goes straight to spam 🙂

      Oh Robin, why would someone take issue with your POV? I mean unless you’re asserting as fact what isn’t, like you live in a million-dollar mansion?

      When I right in the first person, it’s usually about me and it’s true. I use literary devices to make my writing interesting (I guess readers are smart enough to recognise hyperbole, for example). Without them, reading my blog would be like eating food sans spices- bland. At the same time, I reserve the right to full disclosure, meaning that a story on my blog could be a microcosm of a larger story- a wee bit, from a limited POV.

      I like writing in the present tense as it brings immediacy to the narrative. I guess I could be “guilty” of the time element accusation… But in my mind, I write for readers like me, who enjoy being sucked in by a story that touches them on some level; people who are too busy to be Sherlock Holmes for more than two minutes after reading the post!

      This is not CNN. Caveat Emptor! 🙂

      Like

  8. Oh my Gosh! I am really feeling this post o!
    When I read the phone conversation, I wondered to myself…”does she really sound like this in real life 🙂
    I guess you answered the question when you said:” I don’t articulate myself as well as I wish, but I write excellently, the sentences I wish I had spoken” I can totally relate to that!
    Regarding your friends advice…please ignore and delete 🙂
    We love the “flowery stuff.

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    1. Lol! Once someone read my blog post and said they’d be intimidated to meet me because of the way I use words. What utter rubbish, please, I’m the girl next door! But I’m going to brush up on my grammar before we meet in town- I wouldn’t want to disappoint you the way that guy in Ray-Ban disappointed me 🙂

      @flowery stuff, I love it too . . . in small doses!

      Like

  9. Since I started my Sunday lively twist rituals, I’ve asked myself that question a billion times, is she writing about herself or is this fiction?……Sometimes its very hard to come to a conclusion, but I think that’s what keeps your audience glued or rather keeps me glued; not being able to clearly differentiate fiction from reality in your posts….Thanks for making my Sundays…..Very lovely piece

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  10. “If you live on the fast lane, I will never overtake you. If you sashay to the music that I play, you will find me here in the words on display.”

    Excellent prose-poetry right there. And I’m sure there are folks who would at the cusp of telling you a ‘gist’ hold back thinking “She might blog about that”… No? Maybe it’s just me then or my imagination or… never mind.

    Like

      1. Yes it does oooo, I’ve suddenly become a mediocre Linda Ikeji.

        “Ife promise me you wont blog about this”

        “I promise. So what is the gist?”

        *tells the story*

        Really? When did i become a gossip?

        Like

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