All my recent attempts at stories have turned limp and flavourless, like old chewed-up gum left on a bedpost. This could be because in my earlier writing I experimented with style and ignored things like structure, concentrating on just telling the story. Post MA, my head was filled with so much advice from workshops and seminars that I couldn’t hear my own voice anymore. The importance of plotting and characterisation was pounded into my head with a nail gun, resulting in neat logical stories with as much flavour as my auntie Carmen’s chicken a l’orange, made with powdered orange drink and raisins, bless her culinary challenged soul.
My loss of Mojo could also have stemmed from the realisation that my work seems to possess supernatural and surreal elements that I’m not always crazy about that. From years of watching bad television, I know all about the dangers of typecasting. I have a much wider net to cast than magic realism, predictability not being one of my favourite fishies.
That’s nice dear, people say when I lament the loss of my Mojo. Why do you want to write realism anyway? What happened to that lovely story about the woman who was a blackbird or the cats that talked to one another?
But I don’t want all my stories to have special effects. Can’t I just have a woman and a man having an unhappy dialogue in a parked car? I’m no Raymond Carver, but do I always have to be Gabriel Garcia Marquez?
When the mood compels me dammit, people will fly. Until then, I’d like my characters to stay grounded. Is that such a bad thing? I am aware that my strength is probably not in creating everyday scenarios. I’d love to write tense moments painted in stark, prose, but my efforts always come out overwrought and complicated, layers within layers within layers, much like my onion persona.