The loss of my Mojo

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.

4 Comments

  1. Hi – I’m not qualified to advise a writer but maybe you’d want to leave your stories for a bit and take a break from writing. The technicalities of writing seem to have got in the way of your creativity – it happens to me all the time (although I do not write, creatively, as much as you do). I’m just curious, if your best stories had supernatural elements, why do you resist writing them in?

  2. My sympathy: it sounds like you’re going through a black patch – and there’s nothing to knock your confidence like losing faith in your own writing. I don’t have any advice or quick fixes to offer (wish I did, there are fortunes to be made…). All I would say is that the spark is still there. It hasn’t vanished, never to be recovered: it’s still in you. Maybe at the moment it’s a bit swamped with all the (good and valuable) technical knowledge you’ve been busting a gut to acquire. It might take a little longer to reach an accomodation between that knowledge and your own voice/spark/mojo. But it IS still there. This is of little comfort while you’re in that black space, but it does come back – and that feeling almost makes the absence worthwhile, like falling in love for the first time.Courage and don’t lose hope. It’s still in you – it’s just maybe a bit preoccupied with learning new tricks. But it’ll be back.

  3. Hi,I’m sure things will work out for you. I agree with Petrichor; I don’t believe that your spark has been blown out, but perhaps simply covered up with a bit too many dried leaves.Give it some time and it’ll burn through. Then the flames will leap on high again.Best wishes and best of luck. While I know it’s important to you to get back your mojo, peace and happiness are on the inside, not on the outside. Don’t forget that and you’ll be fine. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Finding My Fictional Way « Rambling On

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