How To Be Good At Something

Because I never finish anything… literally.

There’s a small number of you that make your way to this corner of the internet every time I post (which I’m very grateful for) and some of you who step into this crevice will occasionally share something with me about my post; how it made you feel for what you thought about it.

Some of you make it clear to me that I’m good at something and I know this. I know because I enjoy doing this thing and will probably be doing it until my joints freeze up. But in case it amazes you how I got so good, let me just say it’s not as impressive as you may think.

I’ve been writing for years. That’s kind of stretching it since I’m only 19, but you get the point.

I’ve read and I’ve written. I’ve written books (5), plays (too many to count), articles (same thing), screenplays (3), poetry (they’re all cringe so we won’t talk about that) and everything in between; essays, reviews, speeches.

I have even tried writing my own biography without having accomplished anything significant enough to document (in an award-winning book, I mean, this isn’t a cry for pity and re-assurance).

I started off by writing about young, white children doing and eating things I have no idea about and I don’t need to tell you but yes, it was because I read stories about young white children doing and eating things I didn’t know anything about. But I had to learn from SOMEONE. So when I decided that I wanted to write my own stories, I would go skim a couple of lines from a book then return to the computer and stare at the keyboard thinking of ways to weave that story into mine.

It’s the way I learned how to sing. I just tried to sound exactly like the artist and now I can do Shakira, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, H.E.R, Jhene Aiko and Britney Spears impersonations (Celine Dion might be pushing it a bit…)

I never lifted stuff from books I was just always copying other authors’ styles; which was also how I learned about tone, style, mood, voice. And I did the same things when I realised I wanted to write movies instead and I would download all the screenplays of these white-washed, ethnocentric movies I adored (because the Academy adored them) and would try and copy their style.

I know Quentin Tarantino’s so well– he just did his best to sound like an asshole and sure enough, he embodied it on screen. Wow, one would think it was just… effortless.

But after years of writing and pages after pages of hot shit, I learned my own style. It was a little disturbing at times when I was obsessed with writing about younger girls and older men having unconventional friendships (don’t judge me I was trying so hard to be indie) and at times it was bold, I wrote a book of over 200 hundred pages with pure YA, fantasy crap. But it was such a ride writing it.

I’m good at a number of things mostly because I endeavour to try them and I have a superiority complex (shh, it’s our secret) so I try and be really good at everything. Some people say it’s not possible…? It could also just be an unhealthy coping mechanism, who knows?

But if I could tell you how to be good at something, me and Nike would be saying the same thing. But don’t just do it, keep on doing it. It’s interesting the places you’ll get to someday.

I also used to write a lot when I’m angry. I just needed somewhere to deposit all that emotion and also an outlet for escape; that’s why I had to string some words together for this post because I’m angry, tired and just disappointed. I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to rant but I want to live in my head where it’s nice and quiet.

The past couple of days have been terrible for me, so to fully overcome the frustrations I am going to replace them with new forms of embarrassment: here’s an excerpt from a grossly bewildering book I wrote when I was… 14? A lot of it was just weird, but what I like about this part, the end, is the way I mess around with rhythm to deliver a satisfying climax.

Enjoy!

I approached a little girl and whispered the same thing in her ear. She looked at me but didn’t say anything so I continued walking. Happy Birthday to me once again. I found a woman and told her the same thing but she couldn’t question me; language barrier. I approached a man that looked like a tourist, he gasped when he saw me but didn’t move away when I leaned in to whisper in his ear. “Why?” he asked me. But I kept walking on. Amanda. That is Ida’s real name. And guess what her last name is… Withers! What a snake. I received a letter towards the last few weeks of school from an Amanda Withers whom I did not know threatening to reveal all my secrets and she knew everything; what I did to Annie, what I did to Candice, she knew that I kissed Thomas before betraying him, she knew what I did to Nat, why Noemi was in jail, she knew about me pretending to be blind, she knew why Dorothy did not marry Russell, she knew why Sharon was removed and sent to a Military school, she knew why Robert didn’t wake up on the morning of the test, she knew why Havana became depressed, she knew why Aidan left the school and she knew why Emily developed Anxiety. She clearly knew me and who I was. I found more and more people to whisper in their ears as I continued walking but eventually, I stopped walking. People were pointing at me; the girl who had dropped to her knees in front of a crowd. I leaned over and pressed my forehead against the ground and bit my lip, my throat was heavy with regret.

‘Tatum! Tatum!’

That crazy thing Ida, spelling my name over her fake diary to scare the hell out of me, to make me miserable and to occupy all the space in my mind. She is the real antagonist, she is pure evil. Unadulterated, unorthodox evil.

‘Tatum! Tatum!’

I smiled, stretching out my chapped lips as my family members rushed towards me from over a mile away. ‘Tell Alex I’m sorry!’ I screamed. I didn’t know I could scream. ‘Tell Alex I’m sorry!’

They had just begun to hear me. ‘Tell Alex I’m sorry.’

I leaned forward and lay on the ground, limp. I think I felt myself die.

xx

Naomi.

2 thoughts on “How To Be Good At Something”

  1. I too am starting to be decent in Chinese and penmanship because I just did them without thinking much about it. There were no secret techniques, nor did I buy any fancy equipment. I just did them consistently for years. And NOW I’m beginning to see what I need and what I don’t. So yeah, totally agree with you there. All the best with your learning pursuits!

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    1. Thanks and that’s great to hear! I’m kind of doing the same thing with Spanish right now because I don’t have time to learn it actively but I try and pick up things as I go! Best of luck to you as well!

      Like

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