It has been ages! I have missed (creative) writing so much! This is what four years of law school does to you! A couple of days ago I wrote my final exam to complete my LLB! Now all I have left is to finish up that 18,000-word thesis (cringe)! (Though technically I have a year and a half to go to get my licence and be called to the bar, finishing my LLB is a HUGE step.)
I started this blog about three years ago, with lofty aspirations of writing and posting almost every day/ every week (sigh). At the time, I thought this would be my outlet, a space for me to escape the frustrations of being a rookie at the law. However, with the law, I found that any outlet could only be momentary, at best. A blog requiring consistency and discipline was just not something I could maintain.
These past four years have been both enlightening and challenging and I am grateful for all that I have picked up along the way. I cannot thank God enough for just how far He’s brought me. But anyway, I didn’t come here just to bore all of you with talk about my four years of struggle, though to be cliché (very), there is beauty in the struggle. This is just sort of an “I’m-back-and-my-writing-is-different-now-so-watch-this-space” kind of post (ha-ha).
To begin with, I think my writing is less laid back, more formal, less relaxed. I have done so much legal writing and so little creative writing lately that it somehow feels more difficult to do the latter (Imagine!). I am so out of practice, so do pardon my slow recovery – this post is probably not as great as you all have been expecting.
I find that I question what I write more, my desire for perfection is all the more heightened, and even in my reading, I am less likely to countenance lazy writing than I would have been before. And when I question what I write, it is not just the style and the writing I interrogate, but the substance. There is so much I would have taken for granted four years ago that now must be turned about ever so many times in my mind before it finally makes its way out. Not that I didn’t consider the substance of my writing before, just that now I have so many more angles from which to do this. This has further complicated the already complex process that writing is for me; hopefully it’ll produce better work than before!
Then there is the all-pervasiveness of the law, it’s like its spread through my psyche. I look at everything through a legal lens now, which is both a blessing and a curse. I read about people being mistreated and even before I think, “how awful”, I think, human rights abuse, Chapter 5 of our Constitution, ICCPR this or that. It takes effort to appreciate “harmless” jokes without examining their offensiveness to feminist jurisprudence, their legal impracticability or theoretical discrepancies. The law has made me even more serious minded about just about everything, and I am sure, that you will all see this in my writing, with time (hopefully it will not scare you all away).
Also, there’s an addition to my sphere of writing. Now, I can call myself not just a writer of poetry or prose, but of legal literature as well (before anyone chews me, a thesis and law exams in my faculty count ok!). Now I find that I don’t want to just write fiction; non-fiction, legal writing, has a new appeal that I had never imagined it would gain. I have never been much of a fan of non-fiction. My childhood was coloured by characters from so many different novels, non-fiction was just much too boring for me to bother with. It wasn’t even up until senior high school that I discovered the charm of poetry. For me, it’s been fiction from day one; but four years of law school has changed this. Now I can truly appreciate why it is important to contribute as well as benefit from this kind of writing, and hopefully, I will do both.
In not-so recent conversation with a lawyer/blogger I know, he mentioned how legal writing has a way of swallowing up your skill as a creative writer. He himself has two blogs; a legal and creative writing one. I enjoy both of them thoroughly (though I am partial to his creative blog and always will be). However, his creative blog is slowly dying as the other grows. I am determined that this will not be my fate. I understand that it is easier to write about something that you work with every day and are constantly surrounded by. But when it comes to writing and reading, fiction is my first and greatest love, and I hope to keep it this way.
It is exhilarating to finally be writing again! It feels like coming home and finding that though there’s dust on the tables and windows, everything is welcoming and right where you left it – even your rags for dusting and cleaning. So, here’s to first loves and to coming home!