About a year ago I joined the Cape Town Writers’ Circle on Meet Up. Time passed and although I’d never been to any of the writing sessions, I would occasionally check to see that the group was still active – you know, just in case. My excuses were typical: “I have to work late. I don’t have the time. Tonight I just want to be alone. I have a date… with life. I want to sleep.” And, but of course, the good old, “I’ll go next week”.
Over the weekend I had that self-motivating conversation. You know the one where you promise to “live better” which involves more writing, reading, waking up earlier and less drinking… In that moment I confirmed that I would be attending the writing session.
And then Monday came.
But before I could pick an excuse, one of my colleges that had seen my name on the list, gave me a high-five and admitted how excited he was to meet up with other writers. Now I certainly couldn’t say no and just like that I was hours away from my first writers meeting.
Let me say that I LOVE CREATIVES. Whenever you’re in the presence of a creative – and you get a glimpse of their inner world hold onto it, learn from it, bask in it because it’s magical.
Our first assignment asked that we let go and write anything and everything that came to mind. We were prompted by a word chosen by one of the writers, and every two minutes we would be prompted by the next writer’s word. We went around the room and after everyone’s word had been included we read it out the words on our pages.
Note: I’ve underlined the prompt words below.
Unfiltered, uncensored, unedited and uncertain of what lay inside that would spill out I began:
“In the night I could hear him, the whisperer came to me. But I couldn’t hear clearly, it sounded like he was fumbling his words. Then out of breath I finally heard it, “Get out of bed”. And so, at first afraid, I did. I followed the voice out of my room, into the corridor and walked straight into the organza. As I tripped over, I hopped into a world that I had never been in before.
It was clear, the air was thick and new – a complete contrast to the state of my room. Everything white and a melody played lightly.
Again, I could hear the voice singing – the one that called me in the night. It called me to flourish here. On the blank white clear canvased room – lead by a simple melody – I was called to paint it. The lyrics, the words, the song got louder.
I had not heard of it or known how to include it in the scene. Fearful that I hit a brick wall – in the place to which I was called – I stopped. I paused. I no longer believed that I belonged.
The music stopped, the canvas turned grey, the whisperer stopped. It would be a century until I found that special place again.
The years in-between I spent wasting away, yearning for that place where I was called. I ran after things that looked like the place and sounded like the melody, but it was not.
Until in the night again I was asleep and it come to me, a similar whisper. But this time I stepped off my bed an onto an airline.
I was not the only passenger. It appeared there were many like me. I spoke to many strangers and at some point in our lies we had all heard the same whisperer. We had all reached the same point. The whisperer was not exclusively ours but it was what we did with it that changes the course, of rather defined our destiny.
I closed my eyes, finally comfortable, no longer fearing my destiny or what lay ahead. I had no idea where we were going but I chose not to bother with the thoughts of my past or regrets. Every choice, opportunity, confrontation or circumstance merely added spice to my life. It made it bearable. Bold flavours that stayed with me and lighter ones were merely a passing shadow.
As I was brought out of the dream I felt the plane stop as we had reached a part of the journey. I had no recognition of the time it had taken, but I realised that I was neither older nor younger. It was weird because, how could all of that time pass by and I had not changed. I realised that it was not I in my physical body but my dreams itself that had not changed.
I paused and smiled. All of time had passed in my midst but my dream had not died. It hadn’t changed. It hadn’t aged.
Wait!! It hadn’t grown either. But it also wasn’t going to leave me.
As I was about to get off the plane we were called back as I was not supposed to get off. I had more of the way to go. I got back in my seat where there was a different person sitting next to me and I began to indulge in everything around me. The food, the wine, the languages, the culture. It was liberating, freeing no judgement to behold. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced.
Various people came in and out and eventually we got to my stop and I knew it was time to get off. I had, after all, become a little too comfortable. I took everything I had learned, the experiences, the people and found myself back in the room with the blank canvas and the simple melody – back at the place I was led to flourish,
This time I would be better. This time I would be bolder. This time I would be stronger. I would paint, write and sing out loud. I would flourish. If only I had the audacity.
And so with everything I was. I picked up a pen and began to tell the story of the girl and the whisperer in night.
You want to know how it ends? Well I’m still writing.
In the midst of telling the story someone got up and pointed out that there was great specious. In my story?
“How would you know?” I asked.
He stood up and smiled, “I was the one who whispered in the night.”
“And what did you say?” I asked…