Xeno Hemlock


Lay Siege to Shit

He said I couldn't do it even when I expressed I wanted to do it. But I did. Now I got shit on my two hands, shit from sweat, fire, tears, persistence, and lots of late night work. Shit that, if only for myself, I'm proud of.

My stance on overhyping on the Internet remains the same. It must be avoided. It opens a floodgate to overpromising and underdelivering, leading to damage on one's credibility and one goes kerflop in front of the public. It's switch-and-bait. I tell you about this five-star resort only for you to find out it's barely two-stars.

But let me just say this quick. The first draft of my novel is complete. Shit.

It's shit because that's what I always say about my first drafts, whether they be a short story, a poem, or an essay, they're all shit. For almost a year, having writing as my “unofficial” profession (I don't get paid, by the way), I learned how to write shit, to not be afraid of imperfection and jumbled pieces of ideas, because the goal of the first blank page siege is not the reorganization of the fortress but rather the capture of it. Get those related and unrelated thoughts on paper, then reorganize it into an orderly kingdom.

The first draft of anything is shit.
— Ernest Hemingway
Battle  by Jakub Jankiewicz

Battle by Jakub Jankiewicz

So I lay the shit, my novel's first draft, on the floor, and let it stink some more before I duly get my hands back in it to pull the gem inside the ordure. I'm not here to overhype my shit.

You see, a year and so many years ago, he said I couldn't write any novel. I wasn't good in English. I had no writing credentials. My ideas weren't any good. There were better writers out there whom I could never be equal to. I couldn't write eloquently to save my life. These were his words. Until one day, I had enough and finally expelled him from my flesh and spirit. Good riddance, you good-for-nothing bacterial douchebag! I ain't gonna miss you.

I began laying siege to the shit.

A long day at work is tiring but I had to draw energy from some unknown sources to keep on going. My heroes made it and they tell me I can make it too. This is my life's calling and if I turn away now, I cease living. The road is long and unpredictable; it's not always going to be a breeze. Life is no longer about photos of material possessions and vacuous “achievements”; life is about the hundred and thousand hours of work we do when no one else is looking. Sweat, fire, tears, persistence, and lots of late night work.

I laid siege to the shit.

I am not bragging because my novel is still in its early form, not ready for consummation, not ready for the eyes of the world. I am neither celebrating yet because there is more work to be done. But I am joyful because I “did” it. I had crossed over the river fencing the great mountain. I had gone past the foot of the giant mound of earth and am now hanging for dear life a quarter on the way to the top. And I have no intention of going down.

Why is getting to the lower half of the mountain significant? Shouldn't getting to the top the only thing remarkable? For someone like me who had never gotten past the mountain's base before, it's highly significant. When you take that first step to battle your fears and pursue your ambition, you deserve a clap. When you keep fighting and chasing, and make progress, you deserve a round of applause. When you keep moving, you get closer to your goal. The higher you climb, the more fuel you receive. This is how I feel and I'm sharing it out in the open.

The truth is not everyone dares to cross the river. Hindered by fear and dictated by society, they remain where they are, across the river, far from the mountain, only looking up their yonder dreams. You don't have to be like them too. Now I'm telling you, I crossed the river and passed by the mountain's foot, I'm climbing to the summit and you can join me too. Let's ascend together.

I'll be turning 30 in a few months. You may say I am quite late in this whole “siege-shit” shebang. Who cares? I don't. The maxim goes, “Age is nothing but a number”.

Chad Howse, in his latest blog post, said, “We see our age as an inhibitor not as an advantage. The truth is that it’s all perspective, and which perspective you choose to see the world in is entirely up to you.”

He continued, “My age is a benefit, as is my starting point in life, my family, my hard times early in my life, early in my business life, any hard times that are still to come. They’re all beneficial. If I had the opposite life experiences that I’ve had thus far those would be advantages as well, because I’d choose to see them as such.”

Beautiful words.

You, Gina, Charlie, Paula, Francisco, Kevin, Joanna, Oscar, Lorraine, whatever your name is, no matter how old you are, time is your friend, not your enemy. There is never a time too late for the pursuit of a dream. We can get there. I laid siege to shit. You can lay siege to your shit too.

wink  by Hobvias Sudoneighm

wink by Hobvias Sudoneighm

Cover image: Scars of Many an Age by Derek Σωκράτης Finch