Conversations about Not Writing

Its 5:30 a.m. and I am at my computer writing. I have woken early to soft rain dribbling down the gutters and sheeting the veranda. I have started the coffee machine to warm it up, and am drinking a cup of hot water and lemon.

I looked at my writing folder and saw that I had not written since 29 May 2012. I have reposted my essays from my photography site and have published some of those, to keep the blog ticking and I think they are better suited for the blog than the photographic site.

I suppose some feedback is due after I spoke with my grandfather. The episode of losing my patient so soon after surgery unfolded in an emotional turmoil. After just less than two weeks the pathologist informed me that he had died of a heart attack and there was nothing unnatural to record on his death certificate. Common things occur commonly, and that was my first thought when he died but with all the medication we use I needed to know we had not been negligent. We were not.

I was touched by the emails and sms’s many of you sent. I’m not always as sensitive as that episode exposed me, but it has realigned my values into a more simple view of the privilege I hold in treating all patients. Thank you one and all for your feedback.

But that is not why I have not written. I had became a victim of writer’s block. As in all instances in life, claiming to be a victim does not absolve us of any responsibility to a task or in fact life itself. There is no such thing as writer’s block. There is just a fear to write, a fear to tell the truth, a fear to experiment with concepts and stories. A fear that people will laugh at you, or that it may not be good enough. Then you become eligible to claim status as a political victim of writer’s block.

The good thing about claiming victim status is that it is easy to lose that status just by waking up and sitting down and writing. Each moment of each day is a new opportunity to create.

It is with sadness that I have to write about another death, this time in the family: Jako, my brother’s parrot who lived with my mother, died this week. He was over forty years old and was a bigger part of our family than we realise. I did mention him in a previous blog, but there is so much more he could tell. Imagine being a blue and gold Macaw from South America that gets captured in a culture warp of a Geek immigrant family in Alberton, South Africa. There is a real story in that. Jako has been buried in the garden near the house my father built for him, in his dazzling kingly robes. He only knew two words. He could call “Zorba”, one of our dogs and say “hello”. Now he has said “goodbye” at last.

Lunch at my father’s 70th Birthday in 2006. Jako’s house lies on the left behind the olive tree.

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